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Pro Ski Instruction
Pro Ski Instruction

Introduction

Welcome to Pro(fessional) Ski Instruction (PSI). With the help of this website you can learn to ski (better) in the shortest amount of time, through a substantially improved instruction method. Go directly to the instructions section, or continue reading to first learn how and why this method came into being.

About me and the why

I am Frank Conijn, physical therapist and ski instructor. For the first title I did an official physical therapy education. That education went into great detail about human kinesiology, the science of posture and movement. The actual kinesiology classes are anatomy, (neuro)physiology, biomechanics and movement psychology.

For the title ski instructor I did an official Austrian School (AS) education. That school is a strictly defined instruction method that's used in almost all ski schools in Europe. Including in France nowadays, even though their organization is called École du Ski Français.

The instruction methods used in the USA and Canada are look-alikes of the AS, even though some aspects are different. Still, I thought that the method should be investigated. The reason was that for decennia, I observed that the instructors would do their best explaining and demonstrating the techniques, but that the vast majority of learners had great difficulties executing/copying them.

From zero (absolute beginners) to Plow turning, matters would generally work out quite well with the AS. This is Plow turning looks like:

Plow turning as taught in the AS. Producer: NOESLV.

But from Plow turning to Plow with parallel (PwP), matters would already become much more difficult. This is what PwP looks like, although beginners are supposed to do it a lower speed:

PwP as taught in the AS. Producer: NOESLV.

And from PwP to a continuous Parallel that would hold up under more difficult circumstances, the progress would often stagnate chronically. That also happened to learners of whom I knew were good at (other) sports.

I even know of a large number of physical education (PE) students and a number of PE teachers who suffered from the problem. So, the stagnation wasn't due to poor basic motor skills. And it later appeared that it wasn't a matter of educational level or experience of the instructor either.

Also, it are primarily children that are subscribed to ski class, while it are primarily teenagers and adults that occupy the slopes. Apparently, the latter groups do not experience, or hear from others, that ski lessons are worth the money, while the technique of many of them could be much improved.

That alone should make ski schools think.

Research and development

So, I decided to investigate whether the instruction method(s) could be improved. To that end, I first oriented myself, and found that there were several instruction methods, but that the AS was the globally dominant one. And that it had changed several times throughout its rather short history (see here and here). Next, I did the AS instructor education.

One of the things I was curious about was whether there would be a good reason for the school to teach they way it currently does. And there was, when it comes to starting with the Plow techniques. As I had already figured myself, not many people are able to go directly to parallel. And Plow techniques are used by professionals as well, under certain circumstances.

An athlete exploring the World Cup Giant Slalom run prior to the race. Courchevel, France, Dec 2018. Source: Eurosport.

But for the way the transition from PwP to a continuous Parallel was taught, the school could not give a reason that I found satisfactory. Plus: I found important matters that were plain wrong, kinesiologically speaking.

To investigate how the instruction method(s) could be improved, I first did a thorough analysis of the different ski movements and instruction methods, helped by a series of books1-12, videos, websites and (semi-)scientific articles,

Gravity, friction, vectors and posture on soil and on skis. Source: Ron LeMaster. Ultimate Skiing..

That analysis helped me to develop substantial improvements. Not only of the AS, because I found weak points in the other methods as well, even though they all had their strong points, too. Next, I tested the improvements with a group of some 25 volunteers that suffered from the said chronic stagnation.

The results of the whole process are laid down here. I've only just started publishing the final results, and I'm still finetuning matters. But the most important matters have already become clear. Those matters I am sharing with you, whereby you are invited to give me feedback, positive or negative: .

Want to know more?

If you would like to know how PSI differs from the AS, the chapter The improvements is made for you. And more information is available on About some special terms, a section of the page Terminology.

Otherwise, give PSI a try right away — the instructions section is waiting for you. You'll be amazed how much progress you can make in a short time.

References

  1. Wiener Ski- und Snow­board­lehrer­verband/­Snow­sports Academy. Ski Lehrer Buch, 2nd edition. Austria, 2016. [link]
  2. Österreichisher Skischulverband/­Snowsport Austria. Vom Einstieg zur Perfection. In vier Stufen zum Erfolg, 2nd edition. Austria, 2018. [link]
  3. Professional Ski Instructors of America/American Association of Snowboard Instructors (PSIA/AASI). Adult Alpine Teaching Handbook. USA, 2015. [link]
  4. Professional Ski Instructors of America/American Association of Snowboard Instructors (PSIA/AASI). Alpine Technical Manual. USA, 2014. [link]
  5. Professional Ski Instructors of America. The Official American Ski Technique. USA, 1970. [link]
  6. Canadian Ski Instructors Alliance (CSIA). Canadian Ski Teaching Manual. Canada, 2016. [link]
  7. LeMaster R. Ultimate Skiing. USA, 2010. [link]
  8. Harb H. Anyone Can Be an Expert Skier. USA, 2004. [link]
  9. Tejada-Flores L. Breakthrough on Skis. USA, 1993. [link]
  10. Heckelman M. The New Guide to Skiing. USA, 2000. [link]
  11. Yacenda J, Ross T. High-performance Skiing. USA, 1998. [link]
  12. Joubert G. Teach Yourself To Ski. USA, 1970. [link]

Change log

  • V. 1.1: edited section 'About me and the why.'

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