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What do you expect a beginner to learn in week one?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
pollittcl, Thanks for the info - their US instructor must have been having a laugh! Anyway we did OK, but they weren't anywhere near that level!!! Nice people though (in spite of coming from Texas) Sad

Peter Leuzzi, My experience of teaching people who have snowboarded to a reasonable level is that they learn approx 3x faster than a total beginner with no sliding experience. You already know about the board turning into the fall lin, about flexing your ankles etc. You are used to the feeling of sliding, and won't be as afraid of the fall line as most beginners. I had a lad in your position a few week ago, and at the end of the 6 days he was ski-ing parallel comfortably on all our blues (read red if La Rosiere or 3V), and all that in spite of snowboarding in the afternoons.

Hockey stop is turning your feet violently sideways to try to stop dead (I never teach it). Shocked

Enjoy Very Happy
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easiski,

I would it depends on the person involved but typically a young fit male should have parallel stops and be shussing easy red runs, be able to cope with chairs etc as you say. A women of the same age would be a bit more nervous and would concentrate on her turns more. If they both continued lessons for 5 weeks the woman would be technically more advanced but might not be able to keep up with the male with the gung-ho attitude.

But if you said to all your clients that is what they will achieve as an absolute minimum and the vast majority did so, I would say 'book that instructor'

When I talk to beginners I always hope they make it upto the top of the mountains during their week so they can really appreciate the views and get a feel of the mountains.
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I would also add that side slipping is a fundemantal skill in my book and should be taught as early as possible to get confidence in your edges - the whole point - and the ability to get down things way above your ability level if need be.
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is the technique for a ski hockey stop the same as an ice skate hockey stop?
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Very similar, it's basically a very hard skidded 90 degree turn. It's a fun way to stop if you have some speed at the bottom of the mountain: especially if you have a friend waiting there that you can spray Smile
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Thanks all. What is slide slipping? All this ski talk (as opposed to boarding yoof talk) is so foreign to me.

Oh and by the way, with reference to "fit young male" I am 38 yo, pretty fit (this month!) and of the new mature opinion that boarding really is a young mans sport. After racing off a nasty cliff in LDA a few years back and living to tell the tale (where others don't, I believe) my gung-ho-ness has gone a bit and I just enjoy cruising....and figure skiing will take me safely to my twilight years.

Also.... I hate getting off lifts with a board and skiiers look so graceful comparatively...and as to those bloody bindings, don't get me started.

Sorry boarders.
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Peter Leuzzi, in a side slip, your skis are parallel, pointing across the fall line, but you move down the fall line by flattening both skis, and control your speed by edging again as necessary. As others have said, it's a pretty good way to lose height quickly and safely in a sticky situation.
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Surely there are only 2 ways of stopping, snowplough (2 inside edges) and hockey stop (an iside and outside edge). Or possibly 2 outside edges which could be called a 'on your face' stop Very Happy .


I agree JT, I was taught 'side slipping' as soon as I was allowed on the proper hill.
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bbski, what about turning up the hill?
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A hockey stop so called because ice hockey players use them to stop abruptly. Think of an emergency stop. Skiing straight down the fall-line you pressure the skis quickly such that they turn perpendicular to the fall-line and you rapidly come to a stop.

You can do this on a board of course. Indeed I see many boarders come to a rapid stop on their heel side and then sit down (some as if they meant it). This is the equivilent of the skier's hockey stop except that skiers have to do it on purpose wheras a boarder can overcook a turn and stop suddenly by mistake.
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Sorry all. The link to this thread didn't show any answer to Peter Leuzzi's question about hockey stops. So I posted and lo and behold - there are dozens of replies preceeding mine.
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Peter Leuzzi, one thing to consider is that skiing is generally worse for your knees than boarding. However, I agree that it's nicer getting off lifts/not having to do up bindings. I also find skiing generally less tiring, as you can simply point straight down the not too steep parts of hills on skis, whereas on a board you still should be slightly on edge. But despite all this, I find boarding more fun - for me at least it is a more flowing, full body experience.
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So far as I remember (it was along time ago), my beginners class of about 6 or 7 had achieved what easiski sets out plus stem christie turns of a sort (whatever happened to them?). No piste etiquette. It was bloody good fun, and we skied from Meribel to Courchevel on the last day; I'd thought that I'd cracked this skiing lark.
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richmond,

LOL!
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Peter Leuzzi,


If you can figure skate, you should adapt to skiing very quickly. There are a lot of transferable/crossover skills.
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 Poster: A snowHead
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Acacia, I think you misinterpreted Peter. He said he figures skiing will take him into his twilight years, not that he figure skates Smile
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richmond, Stem christies are still a useful turn (particularly off piste), but we don't need to teach them any more at beginner/novice level, as the parallel turn now evolves naturally from the snowplough turn as the novice commits more and more to their turning ski and applies pressure earlier. I do still teach stem christies to better skiers in off piste lessons and so on as a pretty much failproof method of getting down anywhere in any sort of snow.

JT, I don't consider parallel stops and hockey stops the same thing. Parallel stops are when you turn parallel to a stop (I do, of course, teach this), but hockey stops involve fairly violent movement which I generally try to discourage. Ditto spraying friends with snow I'm afraid. I've seen too many accidents when people belt up to a queue/group of friends and try to stop suddenly, don't judge it right (you can't stop dead after all), and crash into the other people. These accidents can be really quite dreadful injury-wise.

Personally I always explain the rules of the piste to all my beginners, and also check that better skiers do know them - shocking how many peole are popping up without adequate knowledge.

Peter Leuzzi, You should have been side slipping when you've been snowboarding - it's what snowboarders do that scrapes all the snow off the mountain!! Confused
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To turn Peter Leuzzi, 's question around, how should a skier of 10 years experience fare struggling to slide on snow with all ten twinkling toes tethered to a tray? Any opinions on whether the presumed inside track comes with any unexpected pitfalls? Toofy Grin

My personal experience of 1hr pvt lesson followed by 30min practice on day1, and 1hr pvt lesson and 1hr practice on day2, snatched late on the last 2 afternoons of my only week last year, was that was enough to link turns and come down a blue run. More of a black and blue run actually. Seriously though, on my 2nd run down on my own, I was starting to flow and fell less than a handful of times. At least that's what I remember. Probably the concussion. Madeye-Smiley Can't wait to try it again in 3 weeks!! snowHead
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easiski,

You are probably right about hockey stops. I never knew the name it is just something I did on the dry slope when I first started so I called them parallel stops. And despite getting to this stage on plastic I couldn't cope with a nursery slope on real snow on my first afternoon. But once we got the hang of that, we went to the top of the mountain in Sauze looking for a green run which was closed after messing around on the nursery slopes at Sportina. It was snowing heavily in the afternoon by this time so we fell down a red, I think, that must have had nearly a foot of snow on it. We didn't know about things like snowing heavily up top. Anyway, we met a piste doctor who befriended us and got us down loads throughout the week. We even closed a few runs but couldn't cope with moguls and bombing didn't work at all on them. We ended up in heaps..!! Good times but when I look back...!!!!
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slikedges, sounds like you are learning nice and quick. Basically, if you want to learn fast, just keep pushing your limits, and making sure you board with speed. Boarding with speed is actually easier than boarding slowly (though alot more painful when you fall). Boarding is at most half skill and at least half balls - always push yourself and you will learn 10 times faster (though it sounds as if you are doing this already).

p.s. avoid moguls. These take a shitload of skill on a board, and will only serve to injure your confidence. Also avoid the pipe for a while.
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My experience is similar to slikedges, insofar I seem to be fast-tracking. I have about 40 weeks skiing experience. Last year I messed about for 2 hours on a nursery when all other lifts were closed.

In December this season I had a 2.5 hour private lesson culminating in 10-15 linked turns on a blue. Then schussed down to the cable car on a flat bit and fell very heavily when found the other edge. Thank goodness for my helmet!

In Jan I spent 3.5 hours - 4 nursery runs, a long red and then the black, La Face in Val d'Isere. These I got down reasonably. Toe edge turns OK, heel edge very jerky.

I am going out next weekend for 3 days and plan to board. I have a 4 hour private lesson on Day 1 (afternoon). Where should I expect to be at the end of Day 3?
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easiski, great thread you started here.
Like davehk, I learnt in 1986 in Obergurgl (I still ski Austrian: feet glued tightly together, despite instructors telling me not to every year since 1998). I was an old man by then (34 yrs) and in ski school with a class of about 10.
When you start you need to learn how to stop, and how to get out of trcky situations (get up, walk up, walk down, and side-slip)
We learnt to stop. To walk up hill. How to get up after falling over. How knackering all this was.
We learnt how to survive the tow-lift and the chair lift. The snow-plough turn. The side-slip.
By the end of the week I was bombing down the red run from the top of the Nederlift thinking I was Franz Klammer (and no doubt looking like Bart Simpson).
It was one of the most exhilerating weeks of my life.
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And to continue the 5 weeks analogy, guys will learn to bomb things that they really should try skiing in a controlled way. If only they did this and did not bomb so much they would save so much time but maybe not have so much fun. This is something we did and it took us years to recover from. Would I do the same again..??
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Jonpim, It's great that you still remember that week - I'm afraid I can't at all remember learning to ski, except for the odd cameo.

JT, Last week I took 2 english guys for an off piste lesson - the sort of guys who would normally just fly down everything - not bad 9 week skiers, but a long way from good..... Anyway we went slowly through rocks and trees and off piste moguls and they really had a good time. I think it was the first time they realised you can really enjoy yourself without going fast! Laughing
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ponder,

You are so right. The first run down I did on my own I fell 20-30 times. I just kept on going and perfected the art of making any sort of slide/fall/somersault look planned, and integrating them with my turns - sort of linked wipe-outs - so that I didn't need to actually stop much! Forget school, I got a postgrad degree of hard knocks that day - but it paid off. Very Happy
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easiski,

Yes, a hard lesson to learn but it takes something different to open their eyes.
It comes down to where do you get your skiing education?
From someone who knows, if you have any sense...!!!
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
easiski, 'scuse the ignorance- can you explain a stem christie turn - is it different to a normal stem turn?
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doogo, A "Christie" turn is a name for a parallel turn. The name is because the technique was pioneered many years ago in Christiana (the old name for Oslo) in Norway.

A "Stem Christie", is where the turn is initiated by a mini snow-plough, but then the skis come parallel again before the skis reach the fall-line.
Compares to say a normal snow-plough, where the skies are 'v' shaped all the way round the turn.

If you watch many intermediate skiers coming down the mountain, you'll see this is the kind of turns most of them are doing.
A 'proper' parallel turn would be initiated by unweighting the skis, with the skis remaining parallel at all times.

This webpage has more info on the differences:
http://www.ski-jungle.net/better-skiing/ch2.htm
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kamikaze, I have to corerct you a little: doogo, the stem christie is as previously mentioned, but in the original version we had to counter-rotate and then rotate with the turn, and the turn uinvolved a pole plant. Nowadays we tend to use this term for almost any turn involving putting the uphill ski out into a V shape to initiate the turn. However this is different from the standard "stem turn" or "basic swing" in that the ski is definitely placed directly onto it's edge and immediately weighted to start the turn very positively. What you see novices doing is a sort of half slid open and slid shut. Stem christie is 2 distinct steps, which is why ist's so useful off piste.

Re: parallel turns. I'm sorry kamikaze, , but if you're still unweighting the skis, you're behind the times. We don't do this anymore in modern ski-ing on carving skis. Sad
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easiski, Pardon my rank ignorance but wot do you now do to turn in modern skiing on carving skis?
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easiski, I'm sure you are the expert, but surely it depends on the slope and the speed you are travelling at. Being a relatively recent convert I learnt on carving skis, and would consider myself very much from the modern school.

To clarify what I said previously, to initiate a turn (without using a stem) you need one of, either a) unweighting or b) edging/carving/transferring pressure on the skis c) using terrain (e.g. bumps). The correct answer depends upon the terrain and the speed you are travelling at. A good skier has the ability to do all of the above based upon the conditions.

IMHO - on steeps and/or at lower speeds, unweighting remains important. Once you have reasonable downward momentum, then it is of course possible to turn purely using weight transfer and edging.

FWIW - a better/longer explanation than mine can be found at:
http://www.ifyouski.com/features/SallyChapmanarticle3/
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I don't think anyone has mentioned Kick Turns ? The standing still in a traverse position, both poles planted up slope, downhill ski raised to vertical, let it fall so the 2 skis point in opposite directions, transfer weight then step the other round. I'm not suggesting spending much time practising them but I reckon at the very least a good instructor should demonstrate them so beginners are aware of the technique. It can get someone out of a difficult situation at the edge of a steeper section if they've come to a halt and are too nervous or not competent enough to go for the fall line.
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I never teach kick turns. IMO they are dangerous as when the skis are pointing in opposite direction the skier is very unstable and on steep slopes this is very intimidating and liable to result in a fall. Also, many older people don't have the flexibility to be able to perform them.
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Kick turns are indispensible in the backcountry aren't they RobW, particularly when touring.
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kamikaze, I would say that it's almost never necessary to unweight the carving ski. If you're in deep crud off piste you may have to jump of course, but we're not talking about that here are we?

If you transfer or equalise your weight to initiate the turn the ski begins to turn into the fall line, it does this in plough, evenly weighted flat skis, a flat uphill ski or an edged uphill ski. From here the ski begins the turn itself and you can choose how much carve etc. to apply. I can't see the point of going back to the bad old days of effort, pole planting, up-unweighting, pivoting, downsinking, edging and so on. If you've only recently come to ski-ing then you probably don't remember how difficult it was to learn, how long it took, how a parallel turn was the absolute max you could aspire to as a holiday skier ........ I could go on an on, but I'll shut up! Little Angel
kuwait_ian, I'm not fond of kick turns for all the reasons RobW, says, but loads of people want to learn them! Shocked
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easiski,
I thought that weight transfer to the uphill ski had always caused the modern technical ski to turn into the fall line, even b4 they became "carvers". Is this really a change in technique that has come about from the advent of the carving ski? Surely up-unweighting, which naturally becomes subtler with practice, was just the term used for the process of weight transfer to the uphill ski, albeit exaggerated and ugly when learning to do it? Or are you just saying that carvers make the effect of weight transfer so pronounced now, that this exaggerated movement for weight transfer is no longer required even for a beginner? Is there a role for down-unweighting?

Put me on the right track(s) Puzzled
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easiski wrote:
For myself, I would think the absolute minimum would be, plough, plough turns, traversing, side slipping, going up surface and chair lifts.

With the exception of side-slipping, I think I got that in about my first hour on skis, and then the remainder of the week was basically consolidation of that, plus some rather shaky stem turns, on slopes up to a stiff blue/easy red. At the risk of repeating myself from the "snowplough" thread, I would have thought that turning up hill to stop, + side-slipping should have been introduced probably by about day 2 at latest, followed swiftly by the magic of a slid parallel turn. Unfortunately, in my case I didn't get to hear about these until the beginning of my 2nd week, when I got shown the "hand down to the downhill boot" and "set-release-set-release" exercises.

While I agree that kick turns are almost certainly not first week material (I really can't imagine that you should be on a slope that needs them in your first week), I also somehow seemed to avoid finding out about them until very recently - always doing very tight parallels or 180 jump turns instead. I actually learned the tourer's uphill kick turn (allegedly some kind of black art) significantly earlier than the supposedly more common downhill one, only managing to pull off a successful one of those two weeks ago (as an 18 week skier Embarassed ).
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B00thy, Yes kick turns are useful when ascending in the back country, but the subject of this thread is "what do you expect a beginner to learn in week one?

I must say though that I've never felt the need to use kick turns when descending even very steep terrain. I did resort to a few plough parallells the other week though to ensure I got around! Maybe next time I'll try a kick turn, but being just above a cliff....
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slikedges, Up-unweighting meant just that. You stood up quite quickly (alomost a pop) to take the weight off your skis to allow you to turn the flat ski to start the turn. Down-unweighting is more difficult but achieved the same result, both movements freeing the skis to be turned by the feet!

Weight transfer you talk about is the modern way. The first ski I positively remember turning itself into the fall line on the edge was the Salomon Pro Link 3V, which was the last really good straight ski before the parabolics came out. (I saw a pair today, and they're VERY skinny!) All skis new and old will eventually find the fall line if left flat and evenly weighted.

While Ali Ross was telling me in '73 or so that "the ski turns you, you don't turn the ski", at that time it was vitually impossible for everyone except the extraordinarily talented. Actually if you watch his old videos, he's not doing it as we understand it today (sorry, if you're reading this Ali). The goalposts have changed with the carving ski, and now everyone can learn to do it, but weight transfer at the initiation of the turn is the key.

If you put an old ski on it's edge it doesn't start to turn - it goes straight on!!! Sad
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I have had experience (with New Gen in Courchevel I think it was) of putting myself, with some trepidation, into their top level group class, then finding I was by some distance the strongest skier in the group, because I was the only one who had previously had quite a lot of high quality instruction. I did learn a lot during the week - how could you not? The instructor was excellent, but he was hampered by people who did not have the technique to do more difficult slopes (which the course was supposed to be aimed at) and who were also very slow. My learning was necessarily focussed on things like improving my short radius turns on easy slopes, not on the steeper and bumpier runs which I really needed to work on. One member of the group, a middle aged woman, was notably weaker and seemed to be there mainly because her partner was in the group. She seemed to be completely unembarassed about being almost a beginner, in a supposedly high level group. (I was a woman too, and a lot older than any of the others, so this is not a sexist/ageist complaint). So it was a bit frustrating. I also found it embarassing constantly being pointed out as having done something right and felt that the others might have thought I was showing off - I wasn't, but my questions and my mistakes were inevitably at a different level from those of the others. Having had previous experience with The Ski Company, who gave very detailed descriptions of the ski levels appropriate for different groups, and did some "re-grading" within the week, I was a bit disappointed that there was no effort to shuffle people around. If pupils are warned that they will be re-shuffled - up or down - as appropriate, and if this happens often enough for people not to feel foolish about it, everyone can have a better experience. I would be interested to know how the instructors in this thread find that people react to being told they might be better off in a different group.
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