A Family Adventure


Tyson, Emilie & Isaac

Early birthday present

March 6, 2012
Emilie Phillips

Last Monday I decided to treat myself to an early birthday present and my parents to a late one. We went for a full day telemark lesson. I dug up the instructor I had for my PSIA class earlier this year. He is really excellent. Since it was Monday and a small ski area, we practically had the place to ourself.

Mom and Dad have less practice with telemarking than I do, but working on the fundamentals was very good for me too. I tried to pay attention to what the instructor was teaching my parents so I can learn how to teach better.

In the previous days, I had noticed that Mom had poor balance, a wedge stance, and not enough weight on her back foot. Apparently the weight on the back foot was the cause of everything. For the first drill, our instructor worked on getting weight on the back foot. That markedly improved Mom's skiing and the wedge and stability issues went away. Unfortunately, I failed to follow the secondary improvements the instructor worked on with Mom.

For Dad, I was pretty sure the issue was in his turn initiation. He had an early lead change, and all the turning happened as rotary at the end. Seeing as how I have just started learning a decent turn initiation, I was not sure how to approach teaching it. Our instructor decided to concentrate on the edge transition. Other options would have been delaying the lead change and introducing more rotary at the top. But I guess the edge transition is the most critical item. I think Dad kept working on that all day. His turns gradually got smoother.

I was looking for a refresher and tune up from my lesson earlier this year. There are probably other things I can improve, but these are what I picked up on. To shift my weight over my skis, I have a bad habit of leaning, and especially of leading with my head. (It is a bad habit for rolling kayaks too.) Fixing that was two parted. First, concentrating on moving my hips over my skis and just stacking my upper body over my hips. Second, to actually move the hips, you need the side to side motion to be in the legs rather than in the torso. The mnemonic I got for that was to massage the tongue of my boots with my shins. That motion also helped me use more power to transition edges and tighten up my turn some. The next item helped with cleaning up the end of my turn. Basically just focus a little more on actively driving the turn with the back foot rather than letting it follow. And then one item I actually had wrong was which way to move the hips. If I let my hips follow the skis a little (but not the torso), I can continue the rotation of the turn longer. This makes it possible to do bigger sweeping turns and shorter turns that slow me down more.

All in all, it was a great day and we just need to practice our new skills.