One of New Zealand’s strengths at Interski has always been the quality of their on snow presentations. As a group this Interski team worked hard to continue that trend. Over the coming months we will be bringing you run downs on the kiwi workshops  from Interski 2015 as well as providing insight into the other nations presentations.

To get things started here is Garett Shore’s summary of the NZ on snow workshop titled “achievement versus learning – building skillful skiers”. New to this Interski was a commentated technical run on the demo hill. This was great as it gave the nations an opportunity to sell their clinic themes to the synchro audience and made the conference a little more educationally focused rather than just synchro. . Following the technical run the guys had a big turnout for their clinic splitting into two groups to manage the numbers.

watching the commentated technical run - new to Interski 2015
watching the commentated technical run – new to Interski 2015

Achievement vs Learning – building skillful skiers

The NZSIA’s goal of attracting, retaining and developing lifelong skiers has led to a change of teaching philosophy from safety fun and learning to safety fun and achievement, What’s the difference? The student’s end experience; their achievement.

Differentiation between learning and achievement:-

Although the concepts of learning and achievement are sometimes used interchangeably, there is an important distinction between the two terms. In simple terms, learning is the process or experience of gaining knowledge or skill. It can be likened to the journey towards a destination. For deep learning to occur, the learner needs to be aware of his or her learning, for example, by reflecting on the processes used, by questioning how the learning can be applied to other contexts, by having an openness to new ways of learning, and by considering the views of others and the ways in which their learning may need to be modified. Deep learning is ongoing and is integrated with assessment. By contrast, achievement refers more to the successful completion of something (especially by means of exertion, skill, practice or perseverance). It can be likened to arrival at a destination.

Learning is the process that all NZSIA instructors go through but we believe that an achievement based approach is better suited to the New Zealand skiing public for the following reasons:
• By global standards New Zealand ski areas are relatively small so people come to ski school to be improved as opposed to guided around the resort
• They only come to ski school for a short amount of time – the average lesson duration would be 2 hours
• The New Zealand public are on average athletic and adventurist and want to explore terrain

As a frame of reference we will look at how we breakdown the skills required to move through the transition of a turn into achievable goals , and why we believe achievement based teaching is more accurately suited to the New Zealand market.

Firstly to achieve the desired result we need to develop clarity about what we are trying to do, it is important that students can mentally visualize the correct outcome, we achieve this through the use of Visual, Aural and Kinesthetic communication.
The desired outcome for moving through the initiation in an ideal situation would be the COG moving with the BOS, staying aligned and creating a platform through ski snow interaction.

Fore\aft and Vertical
Accurate direction of movement through completion and into initiation is achieved by activating the anterior tibialis which brings the shin into contact with the front of the boot, feeling the heel through to the ball of the foot grounded on the footbed, with the hamstrings and glutes and core engaged.

Vertical movement is used to allow the body to lengthen so it can be biomechanically aligned as we enter the control phase. The movement is directed forward by the ankle remaining engaged, while knee extends and hips open, allowing the COG to move forward and in the direction of travel.

Rotation and Lateral
Platform / grip is achieved by creating an edge angle through rotational movements of the legs to tip the skis onto edge. Biomechanically this is achieved by the femurs rotating in the hip sockets resulting in Inversion and eversion of the feet.

Lateral movement is used to balance on the outside ski through a blend of angulation and inclination.

There are 3 key Achievable Goals that we believe are important during the transition of the turn, they are Connected – Stacked – Patient. Developing skills in these 3 areas will create versatile skiers that can adjust the radius and performance to suit any situation.

The first component – Connected. The goal here is to always move with the ski by keeping the ankle engaged and the foot grounded on the footbed so that you are connected to the ski and the outside ski is connected to the snow. To develop this skill on a flat surface skate from ski to ski focusing on gliding and balancing on the new ski, then to develop it further move to an outside ski turn with the focus being placed on moving from the old outside edge at the completion of the turn rolling across to the new inside edge and maintaining balance on this edge throughout the new turn.

Secondly – Stacked. The goal here is to be able to manipulate the body rotationally and laterally but still remain biomechanically aligned over the outside ski. By increasing the edge angle of the ski, pressure on the outside ski will increase through the snow pushing back against the ski. This skill requires developing lateral articulation of the leg, on gentle terrain focus on drills such as crab walks or power plows to increase accuracy of the edge engaging in the snow without pushing on the snow or the ski being displaced further from the COG. To develop this further move to a hybrid wedge parallel turn with the emphasis on placing the ski at point in the turn where a high degree of ski snow interaction will be evident.

The 3rd Component is Patience
Here we are focusing on using ski design to help facilitate the start of the turn, by pressuring the tip and tipping the ski on to edge. This skill requires accurate engagement and disengagement of the skis on gentle terrain focus on a rail road turn where the edges are changed with the emphasis placed on inversion and eversion of the feet. To develop this further use an edge change with flexion focusing on strong muscular control to manage the release of pressure from the old turn into the new.

organising the clinic groups

organising the clinic groups

In Summary
A skill development approach to teaching skiing allows our instructors to breakdown technical information into more achievable steps. These steps are more easily retained by the student. Associating more emotive terminology such as Connected, Stacked and Patience to technical information makes it more relatable.
From a technical perspective we encourage our students to stay connected with the ski through the transition. This is achieved by staying balanced fore/aft and laterally creating a stacked position that allows them to create a platform by patiently engaging the ski on the snow through the use of accurate rotational movements.