Ski Club 2.0 Home
Snow Reports
FAQFAQ

Mail for help.Help!!

Log in to snowHeads to make it MUCH better! Registration's totally free, of course, and makes snowHeads easier to use and to understand, gives better searching, filtering etc. as well as access to 'members only' forums, discounts and deals that U don't even know exist as a 'guest' user. (btw. 50,000+ snowHeads already know all this, making snowHeads the biggest, most active community of snow-heads in the UK, so you'll be in good company)..... When you register, you get our free weekly(-ish) snow report by email. It's rather good and not made up by tourist offices (or people that love the tourist office and want to marry it either)... We don't share your email address with anyone and we never send out any of those cheesy 'message from our partners' emails either. Anyway, snowHeads really is MUCH better when you're logged in - not least because you get to post your own messages complaining about things that annoy you like perhaps this banner which, incidentally, disappears when you log in :-)
Username:-
 Password:
Remember me:
durr, I forgot...
Or: Register
(to be a proper snow-head, all official-like!)

Teaching technique - snowploughs...

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
This maybe a strange question, but I'm very curious!

After reading some articles relating to BASI Instructor courses, I'm starting to wonder if my (BASI qualified) instructor had some bizarre teaching methods! I was never taught to snowplough - actually, we were positivly discouraged from doing so under threats from jabbing poles! It was "explained" that turning was how we controlled our speed, and pivioting our outside ski to initiate a turn at low speed was how we were taught from day one.

Keeping in mind this was a course with probably 6 hours instruction every day for 2 weeks - can anyone comment on this?
snow report     
 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Not knowing how BASI are supposed to teach I cannot coment on the teaching method, however I've always found that whilst I rarely use a snowplough it is occasionally useful, it gives you excellent control at low speeds, sometimes very useful if say behind a slow moving class on a narrow blue run or trying to turn in deep crud. It's possibly another example of "Get people to carve ASAP and get them up on the slopes"
latest report     
 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?
Certainly up to three years ago, the snowplough was a part of the Central Theme, BASI's basic system on instructing and I would guess that it still is. However, your instructor was also right in that the emphasis is usually now on turning to slow down and stop rather than using a snow plough. As skis have shortened, so the teaching methods have changed and I'd imagine that some people are now taught something long the lines of the ESF's Evolutif method using skis as short as snow blades where going parallel is easier than on traditional length skiis. DG is also correct in that its a useful skill to have. The main problem with the snow plough is that it encourages a stem which later needs to be reduced and removed.
snow conditions     
 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
IanB, like most things: there is the orthodox and the unorthodox. What matters is results. If you now ski fine and in control under all conditions then it matters not a jot how you were taught. On the whole, orthodox works for most people, unorthodox teaching techniques tend to be teacher specific.
Some kids crawl before they can walk. Other kids miss out the crawling stage altogether. Both groups of kids walk just fine.
ski holidays     
 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
IanB, there are a number of technical discussions about this issue over on www.epicski.com if you want to really understand the technical issues. But, I expect that you don't. Wink Most of us believe that the snowplow is an inappropriate ski maneaver except for when you need to control speed in the lift queues. While you might want to use a wedge (which is different), the goal is parallel turns. So, if your instructor can get you there without using wedges, so much the better.

However, that "pivot" is inappropriate, too. In general, all you need to do to turn your skis is to tip your new inside ski downhill (into the new turn). Your outside ski will follow, and you'll carve a nice turn. Use your turn shape to control your speed.

I'd get my money back from any ski school that had an instructor poking students with poles, however. Not only is is inappropriate, it's dangerous! Evil or Very Mad
latest report     
 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
ahh... it was through the military - we're used to being treated like cattle wink Laughing I wouldn't have been too impressed If I'd have paid for lessons and that was a technique to make us learn, but as it was courtesy of the tax payer - a little physical abuse is a small price! (and it wasn't as bad as I made it sound!)
snow conditions     
 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
ssh,are you saying that only one technique (carving) is sufficient for all skiing conditions and that pivoting the ski should not be used? I think that pivoting, often blended with other steering techniques, is an essential tool for all skiers. For example, take a look at how Bode Miller skis GS - a proportion of his turns have an element of pivoting. For his first win of the season at Solden he seemed to cut every other turn (he carved when turning right, and cut when turning left) to be able to maintain the racing line at the speed he was skiing. When he cut his turns there was an element of pivoting. Or am I misunderstanding what you mean by pivoting?
snow conditions     
 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
rob@rar.org.uk, no, I am not saying that. I would say that I think that pivot moves are a skill that is effective in many situations, but learning the pivot early in one's skiing tends to create habits that do not benefit one's skiing advancement. In general, we want to let the skis turn us--instead of us turning the skis. If we work on the pivot, we tend to lean on that skill, create Z-shaped turns, and never advance beyond lower intermediate skills. If, instead, we work on carving skills, we can later add a rotational component to shape turns without losing the control, speed, and finesse of a carved turn.

Hopefully, that explains a bit.

IanB, gotcha. That makes sense. I still think it's stupid and dangerous, but... rolling eyes
snow report     
 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.
I think it was the Czech girl, who held on to the lead for a long while as yesterday's racers completed the second run of the WC slalom, who seemed to cut a big proportion of her turns.
latest report     
 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
PG, can you explain that a bit more?
snow report     
 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
ssh, thanks, I understand what you're saying and agree entirely.
snow conditions     
 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.
ssh, echoeing what Rob said about Miller's style, the 19 year old Czech girl Zahrobska seemed to lack fluency at times, with some of your occasional 'Z's, but was she fast - it fact she had the fastest second run...

Interesting quotes in a Sunday paper here on Bode...
Quote:
Miller has never followed the rule book. According to Chip Cochrane, his college ski coach: "Alpine racers focus on technique first, speed second, with the idea that speed will follow technique. For Bode it's the opposite: speed begets speed begets speed."
Quote:
Konrad Bartelski, Britain's former No 1 downhiller, agrees: "His skiing is very radical, it's bizarre. Any young kid watching ski-racing should look at Bode, not anyone else - that's the way they'll be racing in the future."
Quote:
Miller explains how the new skis helped: "The transition from one edge to the other in the turn has always happened earlier for me than for most people," he says. "That's how I go straighter [and faster]. When I was young, I'd have this early transition, then wait for the ski to come ripping into the turn, but because the ski had no side-cut [to help it turn], I'd fall on my side and slide into the woods. My compensation was to sit back, lever the tail and bend the ski. With side-cut skis I didn't have to do that, and it was ridiculous how much difference it made."
Quote:
Bartelski hopes so, and says Miller's style of skiing is based necessarily on throwing caution to the wind: "He completes his turn at the very last moment, waiting for the carving ski to carry him back round. That's how he saves time - but that's also why he gets into trouble more often, his skis are on their edge for longer."
Quote:
Finlay Mickel, agrees that they're witnessing a rare athlete in action. "He looks like he's going to make a mistake, then he's perfect on his skis. He seems to be leaning back. But don't look at his arms or his weird body position - look from his feet to his knees to his hips," says Mickel. "He does stuff that no one else does right now."


Last edited by And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports. on Mon 10-01-05 10:44; edited 1 time in total
snow conditions     
 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
mmm... the ski coach seems confused about the meansing of different versus opposite Very Happy
ski holidays     
 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Have to admit that (from memory) I *feel* that I might "Z" a good proportion of my turns - if by this you mean the result of pivoting the ski before rolling onto the edge; maybe this is down to a subconcious feeling that simply rolling the ski isn't sufficent to initiate the turn - so is this bad or just different? Keeping in mind that this "feeling" is 8 months old due to a imposed absence from any practice - so I might be imagining it!
snow report     
 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
IanB, I'm no expert, but I'd guess that a good many skiers don't "trust" their skis to turn. Having spoken to a a few long-time skiers, they seem to trust only themselves to make, or "force" the turn as opposed to rolling from one edge to the other and trusting the equipment.

Interesting point you make about the BASI instruction. My first lesson was from an ESF instructor and he also poured cold water on snowploughing as the basis of learning, prefering to traverse the slope by sliding and using stem-christie turns, which, on faster slopes more rapidly became parallel turns.
snow report     
 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
IanB,

Well, back to your original question, The snow plough is an essential turn and should be used as and when. I can see the argument for when you are to learn it...as it may promote a habit you will want to supercede later but it should be taught. As it is the most basic and speed and control are its key attibutes then as a first turn it is fine. I don't argree that a carved turn is the be-all and end-all. It's just another way down the mountain and should be used as and when.
latest report     
 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
I think that use of the snowplough for braking or turning is useful in tight spaces: e.g. skiing in the trees or between crevasses! Same for side slipping. It's what I was taught first, but I've no strong view as to whether that should invariably be the case.
snow conditions     
 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?
There is a lot of discussion about ploughing. It is still in the BASI syllabus, however, there are a number of young instructors who feel it's unnecessary. In the end (even with Ski Evolutif) it was deemed necessary to teach people to plough for safety reasons ans because it's useful on lots of different occasions as D G Orf, says. However ssh, is also talking about what we call either a braking plough or a gliding plough (known in America as a wedge).

The main issue in the discussion is that many teachers think that if you teach a braking plough then students will continue to try to stop using this method on inappropriate slopes. Personally I've never found that to be a problem, but you do have to explain at the beginning that it's only a temporary measure as far as stopping is concerned and doesn't work on anything steeper than the babiest nursery slope. BASI generally favours a gliding plough and thence to turning.

My own experience is that more than 50% of the students who come to me are somewhat nervous and want to be able to control their speed asap, and are comforted and therefore gain confidence, when taught a braking plough. In this I think I'm an exception to the rule - in all other aspects I teach modern technique ( and send people away if they come with straight skis etc), but I do find that the braking plough had more to recommend it than against it.

Having said all this, poking with ski sticks (unless you know the person very well), is inadvisable! rolling eyes
snow report     
 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
I've always shown people how to snowplough and tried to explain its uses, then told them fine you now know how to snowplough now lets move on because snowploughing down the mountain will leave you needing a new pai of legs Laughing
snow conditions     
 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Can someone explain the difference between a gliding plough/wedge and a braking plough.
ski holidays     
 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
IanB, you have it right. One trait of an expert is the ability to trust the skis to turn one, instead of feeling the urgency to force them around. Next time, play with tipping the skis and using the tipping to turn. See what kinds of turns you can make just by tipping the skis. Get real aggressive in your tipping and see how tightly you can shape those turns, even to the point of falling over sideways. This will really show you the potential of your skis! The more aggressive the skis' sidecut, the more wild this ride can be.
snow report     
 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Had my first experience of touring last week and I can vouch that the snow plough is very much alive and well, as is the even more neglected stem turn.
We snow ploughed down at least kilometre of iced up rutted track at the end of one day. You use whatever the conditions call for, fashion be damned and there are times when the snowplough is the best tool for the job.
ski holidays     
 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
easiski, I think the issue for me isn't so much that students will continue to use the braking wedge, but that it teaches body movements that are actually the opposite of what's necessary for a carved turn.

For example, consider a straight-run in a braking wedge. Weight evenly distributed. Now, to turn left, I put more weight onto my right foot, allowing my right ski's edge to catch more snow, and thus forcing me in the direction that the right ski is pointing (left).

In contrast, consider a left carved turn from a straight run (gentle terrain, please!). To turn left, I tip my feet left, leading with my left foot first. My Center of Mass (CoM) moves left as necessary to balance against the carving skis (not right as with the braking wedge).

Note: you can make the same move from a gliding wedge, but most folks do not teach the turn that way. If you are in a gliding wedge, tip the left ski and pivot both skis into the left turn. I think this is a really advanced move, but it is taught to some at the very low levels.
ski holidays     
 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.
rob@rar.org.uk, a "gliding" wedge is one in which the skis are effectively flat on the snow, allowing them to slide freely in the direction of travel, even though that direction is a bit across the skis (not directly along their longitudinal axis as it would be if the skis were parallel). A "braking" wedge is one in which the edge friction is used for either slowing the rate of decent or changing direction.
latest report     
 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
ssh, thanks, but what's the point of a gliding wedge? Doesn't slow you down and doesn't help you make a turn...? Sounds like a "racing snowplough" to me!
snow conditions     
 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
rob@rar.org.uk, some people are more comfortable in a wedge than they are with skis parallel. The wedge creates a triangular platform that some find easier than the rectangular platform of parallel skis. That's the only reason to teach it. In most cases, actually, the wedge just happens. The teaching challenge is to work with that wedge and teach towards parallel.
ski holidays     
 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.
ssh, thanks, I've never come across that. Doesn't it make it easier to catch an edge or get twisted out of shape if your basic platrom is a wedge rather than parallel?
latest report     
 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
I'm interested in the comments of the instructors here, as I think the plough has been the biggest impediment ever to my skiing. My first week on skis was spent ploughing and stemming around most of the blues and reds in Chatel, and seemed moderately successful. The first day of the next week (5 years later), a devotee of what seems to be the old school in Argentiere (feet together, skis flat on the snow allowing a free pivot, drive with the knees and/or toes) spent the first day with us sideslipping and got me my first parallel turn on a sixpence, after much cajoling to get rid of the plough and get the feet together - and I started skiing. However it's taken me the vast majority of the last 10 years to get rid of those bad habits picked up in the first week, and they still come back with horrible rapidity when the going gets really tricky. It seems to me to be the obvious thing to teach sideslipping and turning to stop first, then parallel turns, and use the plough only as a brake in v tight spots like lift queues or the odd v narrow track.

(I guess I now see the advantages of both old and new school, and use carved or flat ski turns as seems appropriate at the time).

Having said that though, the plough/stem did come to my rescue one day last year when my legs (and brains) turned to jelly threading down through a bit of woodland at the end of a full on off-piste day I'd had to ski one-armed due to having screwed up my shoulder thre previous day. After a half-dozen plough turns the brain was shamed into reconnecting with the leg muscles and nearly normal service was resumed.
snow report     
 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
I learnt to ski in Flaine using the evolutif method. No snowploughs there, except as an emergency stop.
ski holidays     
 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Helen Beaumont, I wouldn't like to try it as an emergency stop flying down a world cup downhill slope!
ski holidays     
 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
laundryman, I've actually used a snowplough on the Lauberhorn world cup down hill slope, not reccomended but it does work
latest report     
 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
rob@rar.org.uk, yes, it can. Gliding wedges are most often pretty slow-speed maneauvers. Most wedges you see on the slopes are braking wedges.

GrahamN, exactly! You can learn how to break the pressure and pivot habits learnt as part of a snowplow progression, but why bother? Why not learn the more effective movement right from the start?
snow conditions     
 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?
D G Orf, I think there's a story behind that post...! snowHead
ski holidays     
 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
ssh, yes there is, I had to get a complete beginner (1 lesson that morning) down part of the course in a whiteout, not reccomended but I went in front and she held on behind me whilst her boyfriend (who'd bought her up in that snowstorm) cursed and yelled behind her (til I told him to be quiet)
snow report     
 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
ssh, not entirely sure we're both on the same page here - my point was that the snowplough was entirely counterproductive even in a basically old school technique (at least as I understand it - it looks like I'm in severe danger of entering a grandmother and eggs situation here Blush ) - but I suspect you're flogging a different horse Wink .
snow report     
 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
GrahamN, I was skiing with a BASI instructor last week, and he used the snowplough shape as an introduction to carving.
It was a new take on an old shape!

Basically, using a snowplough shape, he taught the class to do "Crab turns".
Not really turns, but just using the shape of one ski to turn one way, then the other to turn back again, yet maintaining the plough V.
It proved invaluable to a couple of guys who were very old school to see what you could do just by putting one ski on edge.
ski holidays     
 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
GrahamN, I agree. The movements are all wrong.

Wear The Fox Hat, problem with that is that you get your CoM going the wrong direction. And I know that you know that! Wink
snow report     
 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
There's an article in this issue of Ski and board mag by Mark Jones which suggests that physically turning the skis into a new direction is the best technique for steep/icy conditions. I think this means using your lower body to 'skid' the skis round instead of edging. I think I do that sometimes but when it gets very steep and icy my bottle goes and my bum sticks out so I can't tell if it really works when the going gets tough! Sometimes edging on hard packed ice just makes me skid out of control. How do others do it?
latest report     
 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.
Jane, concentrate on rotating your feet (you're actually rotating your femur in the hip socket) and the skis will twist around very easily and quickly providing they aren't on their edges.
ski holidays     
 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
Jane, edging is a very good technique for dealing with icy slopes, the problem is that you have to have good sharp edges, not neccessarily found on hire skis, you have to be prepared to commit to your turns, you have to weight/pressure the ski far more than you would on a normal piste. In effect you are using short swings, getting your skis to bite into the ice and turning from the rebound. I think the French call this avec avalement. Not recommended unless you are a strong & confident skier.
ski holidays     



Terms and conditions  Privacy Policy