Where do you see most performance plateaus occur?

oldschoolskier

Making fresh tracks
Skier
Joined
Dec 6, 2015
Posts
3,266
Location
Ontario Canada
I would imagine almost every skier reaches a performance plateau in their skiing careers. Where do you see most of the plateaus occur? What causes plateaus? How do you help skiers break through these plateaus?
I can only answer that plateaus occur when self perceived actions do not match the actions truly required to master the skill.
 

Tony S

I have a confusion to make ...
Skier
Joined
Nov 14, 2015
Posts
6,344
Location
Maine
I think we've drifted into a new thread here. A good one, perhaps, but a new one. Unless people are thinking that this initiation stuff is still all about fore/aft alignment. Mods?

Not to mention the ice cream thing.
 

LiquidFeet

lurking
Instructor
Joined
Nov 12, 2015
Posts
5,010
Location
New England
Here's a great description of what I wish people didn't get taught so often. I've paraphrased a friend's words because they are much clearer than what I've written in this thread so far.

"the engrained, embedded, pivoted turn entry from multiple seasons in ski schools that teach beginners to extend, "stand tall" to release, go to "flat," manually pivot the flat skis to point downhill, and then skid through the finish of the turn"

One can get a better skidded turn without relying on this particular sequence, a turn that uses friction in addition to turn radius and amount of turn completion to accomplish strong speed control through the entire turn. Such a skidded turn can produce strong grip at the bottom of the turn on groomed hard snow, which is a big difference from the results of the "stand tall" approach that so often morphs into a tail-push that rushes the skis through the top half of the turn and causes an out-of-control skid at the bottom of the turn.
 
Last edited:

François Pugh

Making fresh tracks
Skier
Joined
Nov 17, 2015
Posts
5,151
Location
Great White North (Eastern side currently)
I jumped straight to the last page of this thread and immediately ran into this personal attack :roflmao:

That's me to a T, anyway, as an intermediate skier. Despite wanting to learn to carve properly, and despite having the perfect skis for it. It's something to do with the inward leg rotation that i can't get rid of. I end up with that classic kind of issue of bringing the ski around a bit too quick while getting it up on edge a bit too quick (I think the two go together), resulting in a lack of continuous edge grip and skidding the ends of the turns. The turns all start okay and then sort of go wrong partway through.

I'm getting there, slowly, with lessons (though those have been disrupted this season for a number of reasons but I'll see how the end of the season/next season goes).
As @LiquidFeet noted, when the desired outcome is pure carved arc-2-arc turns, pivoting to begin a turn is not the right move.

Purge the pivot, just start off by trying to go straight down the hill, only tip the skis, don't turn the skis, ride the edge and let them take you where they want to go when tipped on edge - untip and tip in other direction, WITHOUT pivoting the skis, just let the skis do as they will when tipped, Repeat. All very good, but wait there's more!

If you are finding that your carve breaks out of its locked in path in the bottom half of the turn, but is ok before that, then consider this. When you tip your skis you tip them past the critical angle and they carve; there is enough tipping angle to be past the critical angle to handle the forces needed to make you turn, and when your skis are at the midpoint of the turn (pointing straight downhill), that's all the force they need to handle. If you keep turning, then once you get to skis pointing across the hill, the skis have to handle the force needed to make you turn PLUS the down-slope component of gravity. And the skis aren't tipped enough to handle that force, as the critical angle for that force is higher.

There are two solutions to this: 1) Keep turning, but tip the skis more so they can hold against the greater force; and, 2) start releasing your body from the turn (as the gravity resistance force builds) so that the skis don't have to turn you so much while the skis keep turning (separate paths of body and skis) until you cross over the skis or the skis cross under you and you begin tipping skis in new turn.

Solution 1) works up to a limit. That limit depends on your skis side-cut radius, your speed, radius of the turn you're in and the related how much you're tipping the skis. The more you tip the skis, the tighter the turn they dial up. If you're making pure arc-2-arc turns then your speed will rapidly increase unless you are on a very mild slope. You will very soon reach a the limit due to speed and sidecut radius where the turn dialed up by tipping requires too much force to hold given how much you've tipped the skis to make that size of turn, unless your skis have a very large side-cut radius. That limit will likely occur in the bottom half of the turn first, since that's where the skis have to deal with turn force added to gravity force.

That's why when you see demos or video of folks skiing fast with most modern shaped skis, they don't complete there turns; instead they use method 2.
 

Nancy Hummel

Ski more, talk less.
Instructor
Joined
Jan 10, 2016
Posts
766
Location
Snowmass/Denver
Here's a great description of what I wish people didn't get taught so often. I've paraphrased a friend's words because they are much clearer than what I've written in this thread so far.

"the engrained, embedded, pivoted turn entry from multiple seasons in ski schools that teach beginners to extend, "stand tall" to release, go to "flat," manually pivot the flat skis to point downhill, and then skid through the finish of the turn"

One can get a better skidded turn without relying on this particular sequence, a turn that uses friction in addition to turn radius and amount of turn completion to accomplish strong speed control through the entire turn. Such a skidded turn can produce strong grip at the bottom of the turn on groomed hard snow, which is a big difference from the results of the "stand tall" approach that so often morphs into a tail-push that rushes the skis through the top half of the turn and causes an out-of-control skid at the bottom of the turn.

I teach beginners (level 1-3) to release their edges, let the skis start to slide and add leg rotation to turn the skis across or slightly uphill as much as they want or need for speed control. Most skiers at that level get enough edge angle from the hill or end up slightly tipping uphill to prevent themselves from sliding downhill as they ski across the hill. We explore side stepping and side slipping which introduces edging.

What I wish that instructors would not teach: Push on the right ski to turn left or push on the left ski to turn right.

I suggest that the "Tail push" comes from several things:

a. poor stance (precluding edge release)
b. not enough instruction about turn mechanics and the objective of how to turn
c. too steep of terrain too quickly or without the proper emphasis on how to control speed by turn shape. The tail push becomes a mechanism to get the turn started because their old outside ski is still on an edge.
 

SSSdave

life is short precious ...don't waste it
Skier
Joined
Sep 12, 2017
Posts
1,847
Location
Silicon Valley
These are the realities I face with frustrated intermediates here in New England: skiing consistently back seat, skiing without separation, edging the skis by leaning in, extension with a pivoted tail to start the turn, bracing at the bottom of the turn as skis skid downhill without adequate engagement...

Note, not an instructor, have never taken lessons, learned decades ago from books (ie Joubert), ski racing on tv, self experience.

Isn't lack of angulation and upper-lower body separation that @LiquidFeet mentioned on the first page of the thread though it seems was not expanded on later, a primary movement skill separating haves from have nots? Just watching others ski on groomed intermediate slopes this is what always jumps out at this person. Do novices even get to know what that lower body rotation feels like just standing facing downhill without skis on while in ski boots? Is not teaching that skill early because it is probably considered too advanced, possibly setting up difficulty later?
 
Thread Starter
TS
bud heishman

bud heishman

Skiing performance facilitator
Skier
Instructor
Joined
Nov 15, 2015
Posts
497
Location
Tahoe
I can only answer that plateaus occur when self perceived actions do not match the actions truly required to master the skill
oldschoolskier said:

Teach the skills, they are all required at some point, question just becomes when.


I'm a bit confused as to what these two statements mean? Could you clarify.
 

mister moose

Instigator
Skier
Joined
May 30, 2017
Posts
410
Location
Killington
I can only answer that plateaus occur when self perceived actions do not match the actions truly required to master the skill.
I like this. So much of skiing is 'magic', ie the subtle movements utilized isn't seen by the casual observer.
Not to mention the ice cream thing.
Hey now. That was a very worthwhile diversion. Which would be a great trail name... "Worthwhile Diversion"


What's with all the concern on teaching beginners in such a way that every instruction will never change, ever, as they progress? Are we trying to create one trick ponies? We only turn one way? I get it that some habits can become very ingrained, but this talk on no pivot, no flat ski, etc, you guys must deal with some very athletic superstars. What I see is a lot of jelly ankles, lack of any fore aft control or balance, stepping on pole baskets, inability to step sideways without toeing out, inability to keep the ski flat, inability to stand centered so their weight is on one foot, inability to control the knee and go from bowlegged to knock-kneed but nothing else, and more.

There is a trade off between teaching what works today vs teaching what will work forever. Most casual skiers don't have forever. They want to turn, stop, and get on the lift. That's fun. Teach what's fun. Teach what works for them. Do advanced skiers ever do step turns? I haven't seen it yet. Does it help some beginners and intermediates learn weight transfer and individual leg rotation? I think so.

I'm going to be teaching my 5 year old never ever niece in the near future, and I'm sure not going to worry about how much pivoting is going on. I'm going for a smiling "Let's do it again!"

There is more on this subject, but my summary is we can't teach the perfect. We can't establish one set of rigid methodology that establishes a perfect teaching path and never adapt away from that rigidity. It won't last long in the real world of the vast variety of humankind that shows up on the slopes every day.
 
Last edited:

Nancy Hummel

Ski more, talk less.
Instructor
Joined
Jan 10, 2016
Posts
766
Location
Snowmass/Denver
Rotating the flat skis to point downhill, or to point in the new direction. It's a shame that we teach that to beginners. It gets deeply embedded. Its very hard to eliminate.

I was addressing this post. Not your post about RR tracks. Clearly, RR tracks require tipping first.
 

Tony S

I have a confusion to make ...
Skier
Joined
Nov 14, 2015
Posts
6,344
Location
Maine
What's with all the concern on teaching beginners in such a way that every instruction will never change, ever, as they progress?
Great question. I'm guessing it's because we all know that the typical American student - especially if it's a young or youngish male - is likely to stop taking lessons at any second and probably never resume during a lifetime of skiing.
 

Nancy Hummel

Ski more, talk less.
Instructor
Joined
Jan 10, 2016
Posts
766
Location
Snowmass/Denver
I like this. So much of skiing is 'magic', ie the subtle movements utilized isn't seen by the casual observer.

Hey now. That was a very worthwhile diversion. Which would be a great trail name... "Worthwhile Diversion"


What's with all the concern on teaching beginners in such a way that every instruction will never change, ever, as they progress? Are we trying to create one trick ponies? We only turn one way? I get it that some habits can become very ingrained, but this talk on no pivot, no flat ski, etc, you guys must deal with some very athletic superstars. What I see is a lot of jelly ankles, lack of any fore aft control or balance, stepping on pole baskets, inability to step sideways without toeing out, inability to keep the ski flat, inability to stand centered so their weight is on one foot, inability to control the knee and go from bowlegged to knock-kneed but nothing else, and more.

There is a trade off between teaching what works today vs teaching what will work forever. Most casual skiers don't have forever. They want to turn, stop, and get on the lift. That's fun. Teach what's fun. Teach what works for them. Do advanced skiers ever do step turns? I haven't seen it yet. Does it help some beginners and intermediates learn weight transfer and individual leg rotation? I think so.

I'm going to be teaching my 5 year old never ever niece in the near future, and I'm sure not going to worry about how much pivoting is going on. I'm going for a smiling "Let's do it again!"

There is more on this subject, but my summary is we can't teach the perfect. We can't establish one set of rigid methodology that establishes a perfect teaching path and never adapt away from that rigidity. It won't last long in the real world of the vast variety of humankind that shows up on the slopes every day.

Teaching functional stance and movement patterns such as edge release and leg rotation along with a wedge to stop does give people the ability to do many things after 1 day of lessons. I get that many people only come to one day of lessons. I believe the skills I teach in a 5 hour beginner lesson are a great foundation and if they never take another lesson -they have fundamentals to help them navigate safely and have fun.
 

Tony S

I have a confusion to make ...
Skier
Joined
Nov 14, 2015
Posts
6,344
Location
Maine
5 hour beginner lesson
:geek:
I had no idea there was such a thing as a five hour beginner lesson. Probably related to the fact that my entire early ski career existed in a world of great frugality. I don't think my folks ever paid anyone to do anything for five hours in their lifetimes. Your could have been giving CPR and they would have asked what what the meter reading was. That's not a slam; they were children of the great depression. It was their reality.
 
Thread Starter
TS
bud heishman

bud heishman

Skiing performance facilitator
Skier
Instructor
Joined
Nov 15, 2015
Posts
497
Location
Tahoe
Teaching functional stance and movement patterns such as edge release and leg rotation along with a wedge to stop does give people the ability to do many things after 1 day of lessons. I get that many people only come to one day of lessons. I believe the skills I teach in a 5 hour beginner lesson are a great foundation and if they never take another lesson -they have fundamentals to help them navigate safely and have fun.
Agree here! low speeds, low edge angles, higher speed, higher edge angles
 

Chris V.

Out on the slopes
Skier
Joined
Mar 25, 2016
Posts
653
Location
Truckee
I get it that some habits can become very ingrained, but this talk on no pivot, no flat ski, etc, you guys must deal with some very athletic superstars. What I see is a lot of jelly ankles, lack of any fore aft control or balance, stepping on pole baskets, inability to step sideways without toeing out, inability to keep the ski flat, inability to stand centered so their weight is on one foot, inability to control the knee and go from bowlegged to knock-kneed but nothing else, and more.

There is a trade off between teaching what works today vs teaching what will work forever.
The discussion of this subject came up in the context of responses to an experienced skier who was having great difficulty carving. This is a very common situation. It's disturbing when one realizes how may instructors, even, can't do proper railroad tracks on very gentle terrain. Generally, this is a product of over-reliance on a pivot at a discrete moment during the transition--which to be sure, may be mixed with other difficulties such as excessive extension at transition, and poor fore-aft movement patterns. For skiers wanting to learn to carve, they need to start on those very gentle slopes, at low speed, and need to bleed out all pivoting at transition.

Nancy Hummel has been talking about the importance of learning leg rotation skills. I agree, but we should distinguish that from the dysfunctional abrupt pivoting we see in so many intermediate skiers, despite them having learned to ski in a parallel stance, more or less. Some degree of application of leg rotation will show up in any good brushed turn. (And I don't mean to imply that it's absent from carved turns.) But the goal should be a gradual, progressive application of that rotation, which unfortunately is quite different from the pattern that many beginners develop. Then as one gets into higher speed short radius turns, it becomes less gradual, but it should still be progressive.

So in short, the problem for many skiers becomes not a lack of any leg rotation, but instead excessively vigorous and sudden leg rotation, or alternatively the use of upper body English to initiate turns.

This highlights the value of instilling edging, foot tipping, and upper-lower body separation in first lessons. However, you make a fair point if we're considering the situation of teaching first timers in a lesson lasting half a day or less. There's tremendous pressure to get students quickly to the point of being able to ride the chairlift, and make it back down the bunny hill linking turns, any kind of turns, in reasonable control. That can preclude devoting time to a variety of basic skills essential to putting students on the road to advancement to higher levels.

Actually, low speed railroad tracks aren't particularly difficult. Just as learning to ski easy terrain isn't particularly difficult. It's truly not all that physically demanding, even for couch potatoes. I like to think that I can teach almost anyone--anyone who's motivated, attentive, and puts in the practice--to ski green and easy blue slopes reasonably well in three days. The unfortunate thing is that we usually don't get three days.

The drawbacks of short first-timer lessons may be the reason that my favorite lessons to teach were students' second or third lessons. These would be after the students had had a little bit of practice, and were able to remain vertical and not endanger themselves or others, though their technique would typically be extremely rough at that point. In that situation, there's a lot of freedom as to which way to go, what skills or drills to focus on. There's no issue with constantly having to scrape students off the hill. The pressure is off. You can take your time. Whatever you do, things can only get better.
 

oldschoolskier

Making fresh tracks
Skier
Joined
Dec 6, 2015
Posts
3,266
Location
Ontario Canada
I
oldschoolskier said:

Teach the skills, they are all required at some point, question just becomes when.


I'm a bit confused as to what these two statements mean? Could you clarify.
Example.....hhhmmm.....like when a poster asks a question is given an answer and fails to comprehend so asks for an example.....

and

see above.

ogwink :ogbiggrin::beercheer: Sorry had to be a smart a$$ here.

Seriously, what we envision we are doing and what we actually do can cause a stumbling block because we believe we are doing it right because we grasp the concept but that doesn't relay into our actions.

As to the second statement quoted was in respond to LF's post, all skills are need eventually, teach them as early as possible.
 
Last edited:

4ster

Just because you can doesn’t mean you should!
Instructor
Joined
Nov 12, 2015
Posts
3,984
Location
Sierra & Wasatch
Great question. I'm guessing it's because we all know that the typical American student - especially if it's a young or youngish male - is likely to stop taking lessons at any second and probably never resume during a lifetime of skiing.
I don’t care if it’s their first time skiing and the only lesson they ever take, if they take one lesson a year or one every 10 years, there are particular basics I want them to understand and leave with that they can employ their whole skiing career no matter what level they reach.

EDIT: I posted this last night without reading some of the previous posts. So l am basically saying the same, a good instructor will teach movements & skills that will not contradict or detract from what they are learning now or in the future. Most lessons need to be a bit correctional before we can move on to the developmental stages. One of the great things about teaching beginners is that we begin with a fresh slate. Kinda what this thread is about.
 
Last edited:
Thread Starter
TS
bud heishman

bud heishman

Skiing performance facilitator
Skier
Instructor
Joined
Nov 15, 2015
Posts
497
Location
Tahoe
FWIW, I believe, as Nancy and others here, that if we teach parallel turn mechanics from the begining we do not have to un teach anything later rather refine the skills taught. This means teaching a passive weight shift caused by releasing the downhill ski edge to initiate "GO" turn rather than an active weight shift and stem or braking wedge.

There is no need to teach a higher edge, no pivot initiation using this method. The student will progress into a parallel turn and learn to develop higher edge angles as speed and forces build without over pivoting the ski at initiation because they were never taught the braking move.
 
Thread Starter
TS
bud heishman

bud heishman

Skiing performance facilitator
Skier
Instructor
Joined
Nov 15, 2015
Posts
497
Location
Tahoe
I

Example.....hhhmmm.....like when a poster asks a question is given an answer and fails to comprehend so asks for an example.....

and

see above.

ogwink :ogbiggrin::beercheer: Sorry had to be a smart a$$ here.

Seriously, what we envision we are doing and what we actually do can cause a stumbling block because we believe we are doing it right because we grasp the concept but that doesn't relay into our actions.

As to the second statement quoted was in respond to LF's post, all skills are need eventually, teach them as early as possible.
Thanks for clarifying
To your first part, this is where a video offers the student the greatest value allowing them to connect what they see on the video with the movements they are actually making.

to your second point, all the skills exist as soon as we move on skis in their neophyte stages and we simply develop them at different rates and emphasis. They are all there in the beginning. Where and how we emphasize varies. IMO
 

oldschoolskier

Making fresh tracks
Skier
Joined
Dec 6, 2015
Posts
3,266
Location
Ontario Canada
@bud heishman we are on the same page, as equipement has changed so has the sequence of how things are taught. As to video yes it works to a point, but.....while it is a great solution it should as be recognized that it has its failings, specially when the "stall has occured, that seems to be the limit of the individual". Individual grasps and see fault, but in practice can't make change as corrective action does not translate as correct action. More of feels right but is wrong vs feels wrong and is right until the body remembers and accepts action as right.

What alternatives are there? One is coach/instructor in the ear so to speak over riding to self envisionment. In swimming this is done with a ear piece on the swimmer and coach correcting each stroke (or part of stroke) to work past fault (after video and other methods of course). Seen it first hand in training, amazing to see.
 
Top