Sunday 28 December 2014

More Feel Your Feet

Feet pressure points
Feeling your feet part of lesson 1 can be done before you go to the ski hill.  The top picture, which I have taken from the ski manual ( all three pictures actually),  shows the pressure points used to control your skis.  The amount of pressure and the location can change as required.  Small circles are low pressure and large circles are high.  


In the second picture, you can test these points by standing with your feet a few inches or centimeters apart.  Bend slightly forward staying in the neutral position then  rock forward  and back to feel the change in pressure.  

 Gradually widen your feet and feel the increase on the pressure points, rocking back and forth.  

 Keep bent slightly forward. 

Next, with your feet wide, you can move your weight side to side.   

Shift your weight forward and side to side.  Note your body position.

Shift your weight backward and side to side. Again, note your body position.

Saturday 27 December 2014

Beginners Dilemma

In lesson 2 of my Manual the beginner starts to move down hill.   To an experienced skier, it is difficult to understand all that a beginner feels. You can guess. The beginner can imagine flying off down hill that would end in nothing but calamity.  No way to stop or avoid any obstacles, No way to envision a final result.  How to start and how to stop.  Will I live to tell family and friends?
When teaching, I have had people break out crying as soon and they stepped into their skis, scared stiff.
What to do? In lesson 2-4 there are three different ways to stop.  The first stop is a simple snow plow stop. It only works on beginner hills.  You move a few feet snowplowing, then stop by making the snowplow wider.  The second way to stop is with one foot.  This is a more effective way to stop. And the last way is simply to turn until stopped.  Each of these ways of stopping are training for developing the 5 beginner skiing skills.  The snowplow or wedge stop emphasizes pressure and edge control, one foot stop counter-rotation, and the last a simple blending of skills.  Each type of stop gives a new sense of control and an increase of confidence. The mystery of the unknown gradually disappears and fears dissipate.
I read an article on an interview with Robert Redford, many years ago. He was learning to ski.  He was skiing too quickly for his skill level and accidentally went over a bump and flew into the air.  He could crash and burn or keep on going.  He said it felt so good and exciting he kept on going. That's the feeling of skiing.

Ski manual for beginners.  This free download link is also at the bottom of my first post.

Saturday 20 December 2014

Feel Your Feet notes

Feel Your Feet, lesson 1 in my manual, has a history with me.  I was first introduced to feeling my feet by a fellow instructor, Steve Long, about 7 years ago.  His instruction was to press on your big toe to make a turn.  A few years later, Darrin West and Ryan Powell refined it a bit. They drew pictures in the snow of a turn arc with a foot.  The explanation was to press on the front of the foot for the first part of the turn and heel on the last.  I have added this to a beginner lesson because it is fundamental to making skis turn. I only equated this concept to how to make skis turn in the last year when I started writing my manual.  The process is subtle. When you press on a ski with your big toe pad, the ski and your leg will start to turn. You let your leg rotate in front of you.  This is a skill.  If you try to turn your leg and foot to turn your ski, it may work or not.
The idea of feeling your feet is usually introduced at the intermediate stage where skiing is fast.  It is much better to learn the concept at slow speed, preferably when beginning to ski. Hence introduced in lesson 1 and exaggerated in lessons 3 and 4.

Tuesday 16 December 2014

Lessons for Beginner Alpine Skiers

This blog is about improving the way we teach beginner skiers.    I have taught beginners and intermediate skiers for the last 12 years including 2 years with the adaptive group using the accepted programs. During this time I have followed the technical advances of both boots and skis and the way student beginners learn.   Ski equipment has changed but ski lessons have not.  To this end I have created a manual AlanR Method, Learn to Ski Manual For Beginners, Returners, Refreshers, a mouthful.  It's Free for personal use but commercial  enterprises must obtain a licence.
It has always been accepted that if a beginner is able to stop and make a simple turn on his or her first day, this is sufficient.  I have found that most students are capable of much more.  It has also been accepted that beginners fall a lot and I have found that falling can be minimized.  I have also found that a lot of the information learned in a lesson is not retained and people get stalled with the only option of taking another lesson.
The manual has six lessons plus notes about the equipment needed.  It also has background information on beginner skills and how skis turn, for those that want to know why. If it snows soon and the mountain where I ski opens, then I will make videos to complement the manual. These will be posted both here if I can figure out how and on YouTube which I know how to do.
This is my first blog ever. So please have patience because I am on a very steep learning curve. I have just lost my first post to the ether and this is my best reconstruction.  I am creating this blog for several reasons. Besides improving the way that we teach skiing, I would like to test the the various methods of doing it on line.  These are the written form in the manual, audio, video, Q@A your feedback.   We are Beta testing for awhile.  Below is a link to the manual.

   AlanR Method, Learn to Ski For Beginners, Returners, Refreshers,