Timeless vs Trends
When shaped skis became popular in the nineties, they allowed turns to be finished close to the fall line, rather than having the edging starting there. Many new theories about technique were introduced since then which made instruction more complex and confusing for instructors and students. But ski instruction has a long tradition of creating new techniques from a time when European countries promoted their techniques as a competitive advantage. Interski
Here are some of the technical trends since the early nineties:
1- Ski more centered with less tip pressure
2- Stay more square with little inside lead; pull the inside foot back
3- Keep equal weight on both skis when carving
4- Actively turn the waist in the direction of the turn
5- Make only carved turns with no skidding
6- Make only cross under turns with retraction and no turns with extension which is often confused with up unweighting
7- Ski with less inclination
8- Keep shins parallel throughout the turn
9- Skis must maintain a perfect parallel relationship with no convergence or divergence
10- Focus on the new inside ski to start turns; release the ski, then steer or edge it
11- Edge the inside ski first
12- Transfer weight gradually as the skis approach the fall line
We need many ways to make the same point to teach well. This is the very creative aspect of teaching that makes every lesson unique to the students. However, technical trends are not exercises to improve how we teach; they are changes to the fundamentals. Promoting something as new has marketing benefits, and it appeals to the desire for innovation. But ski instruction is more than a business; it is knowledge that is based on physical principles with a long history of application. It takes extraordinary evidence to change established principles. The latest marketing trends in thinking from new Interski team members is not enough.
There are no national techniques in sports like golf, but every four years ski instructors maintain the tradition of comparing the national techniques which still exist in ski instruction. Great effort is spent trying to differentiate techniques in the name of marketing and innovation rather than looking at what they share so instruction can be simplified. This helps to keep alive the idea that technique changes frequently.
Technical trends can make useful exercises and will work to make turns, but many things that are not fundamentals work in skiing, like skiing on the inside ski or using natural moves like rotation. Trends add complexity and make a challenging sport even more difficult with changing goals. They make instruction confusing for instructors and frustrating for students, especially for the large number of infrequent recreational skiers.
Resorts in this country have a monopoly on instruction which keeps the pay low and creates high turnover. An average instructors teaches part time for about three years. Instruction needs to be more simple and consistent for instructors to achieve higher competence in less time, especially as the cost of instruction rises. Higher quality and more effective instruction will also increase new skier conversion rates.
The challenge in skiing is a solid execution of basics that are not intuitive, which is even more demanding because it is not easy to know how we are moving. This requires consistent goals and specific feedback to develop and maintain.