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"SKIING IS A SLIDING SPORT":
Some folks who have not yet tried skiing often think that all they need is skiing gear in order to "come down the mountain" right away or perhaps after a little practice. And why not? Skiing looks so easy when watching others do it, like the downhill racers on TV! But skiing is not like other adventures in which one goes along passively for the ride, such as in a roller coaster, on a zip line, or even in a river raft where a guide is rowing. Instead skiing requires us to use our own bodies--muscles, movements, understanding, commitment--to have our adventure. And in ways and places that are likely unfamiliar. This skiing web manual helps explain how to do that.
A remarkable ski student came to ski school one day. "Put me in level 3," he said. "Well, why?", the instructors thought, "Have you skied before?", they asked. "Oh, no," was the reply, "But I read the book and watched the video." So they put him in level 3, ready to make a downward adjustment. However, the book-reader/video watcher succeeded and stayed in level 3, ready to advance to level 4 at the end of the lesson. Knowing in advance what to expect and understanding the mechanics involved and the movements needed can obviously help, although not usually so much.
A trite definition of insanity is doing the same thing again and expecting a different result. Thus it may not accomplish much to improve your skiing by practicing what you have been doing: you may need to do things differently. This manual intends to give suggestions that may be different from what you have been practicing.
People learn sliding sports different ways. They learn by watching and imitating, by doing the movements and feeling the position changes, and by hearing or reading how to do the sport's motions and thereby following a thought process to reproduce the patterns. Best is to utilize all these ways, and on-the-hill ski coaching allows such a blended approach to learning to ski and skiing better. By its nature, this website manual is directed to the "understanding" method of learning, giving background to what you will see and hear and be asked to do when you are in a ski lesson. Its intent is to allow more of skiing time to be used in learning by watching, doing, and feeling..
Even if a lot of time can be spent on the hill in learning to ski or ski better, distractions like weather, equipment or body limitations can impede results. Watching a video is useful, but sometimes one cannot quite understand how the muscles are moved or which ones are moved to change a body part's position even while seeing the position change. So, learning to ski is also cerebral. This writing is to meet the cerebral aspects of learning to ski.
Boot Gordon, in his book, Ski Powder 9 Ways (Gordonstown Press: Dillon, Colorado, 1975) reports on a winter that started snowless. For three weeks, instructors presented theory to students, analyzed movements, and practiced positions indoors. When the snow finally came, Boot says, these indoor students had advanced in their time as much as had those in earlier winters who had been outside on the snow from the start. Boot therefore feels that it is quite useful to understand so that one can better perform, and if Boot is right, this "Skiing is a Sliding Sport" web manual may help you.
The premise here is that, at all levels, skiing is performed under the same parameters. There are snow, human anatomy and mentality and behaviors, equipment, physical principles and the forces of gravity and inertia. We ski successfully within these parameters when we manage them effectively. The most effective way of managing these parameters follows the same principles from beginning through expert levels. We utilize the same basic movement patterns; the difference in skiing levels is the degree of finesse that is applied and the experience to select appropriate options from one's skill bag for varied (steeper, faster, snow differences) situations. Learning to ski is thus a journey, a journey that can give pleasure all along the way; the journey can have no final point or product but continuous improvement and enhanced enjoyment for an entire skiing life.
With so many different situations that may be encountered in skiing, the answer to any ski question is often, "It depends..." and that is the spirit in which this manual is written and should be read.
READING LEVEL: While effort was made in this writing to explain things simply, some concepts are by nature more complex and yet are important to understand. So these, too, are presented. You may grasp some sections more readily on the ski hill with a coach where the elements of skiing including equipment and slope geometry are at hand and can be experimented with. And so, this writing is not intended to replace on-hill coaching and practice, but only to make such experiences more productive.
"I can explain it to you," the teacher said, "but I can't understand it for you."
"SKIING IS A SLIDING SPORT"--a skiing web manual : Skiing
Web Manual Contents
READ THIS SKIING WEB MANUAL That First Skiing Lesson
Little Skiing History
Conventional Skiing Wisdoms
Skier Excuses Fear
in Skiing Conditioning
for Skiing Equipment
to Develop Balance on Skis
A Skiing Turn
Simplified The Final Skiing Skill:
pressure management Tactics for Terrains and Snow
Textures and Racing
Skiing Tips and Tales--a potpourii
Exercises for Developing Skiing Skills
Children and Skiing
Age and Skiing
Gender & Skiing
Culture & Skiing Skiing Ethics and Slope Survival Slope Safety Skiing
Environment Videos and Apps Glossary
SkiMyBest Website Contents