Lazy? Busy? Crazy? Actually, I’m not sure which of those applies, but this winter season, I am continuing my off-season schedule of two posts per week. This means, as least once a month, I will combine several short topics in a post titled “Tight Turns.” Today marks the Tight Turns début. Topic? Learn-to-Ski (and a giveaway, too).
The Clendenin Ski Method: Ski Camp for Grownups
I don’t have a “bucket list.” Instead, I’ve got “goals.” One of my goals is to attend a Clendenin Ski Method Camp.
As you may recall, last season, I took a lesson on a ski simulator with a Clendenin instructor. I’ve also watched (and will be rewatching) John Clendenin’s excellent instructional video before I hit the snow this season. John is a world-champion freestyle mogul skier and he specializes in improving his clients’ mogul skills. I love skiing moguls and I know I could be so much better. Couldn’t we all?
Having seen the results from the video and the deck lesson, I’m ready for three full days of fun.
This season, Clendenin Ski Method camps will be held in Aspen from December through March and in Park City in January (already sold-out) and February. If you register for the 2013 Aspen camps before November 1, there is a slight discount.
Interested in learning more about the Clendenin Ski Method? I’m giving away a copy of John’s book, Four Words for Great Skiing. The words are Drift, Center, Touch and Tip and the motions they describe are used by the best skiers in the world, whether alpine, telemark, freestyle or extreme. Four Words for Great Skiing has over 160 photographs in 120 pages and is endorsed by skiing legends Stein Erikson, Jonny Mosely and Glen Plake.
If you can’t make a three-day camp, why not try the book? And if you start reading now, you’ll be ready come December!
To enter for a chance to win Four Words for Great Skiing, please leave a comment below. One winner will be chosen randomly on Thursday, October 4th.
Seven Secrets of Skiing
If four words are good, might not seven secrets be better? That’s what long-time Beaver Creek, Colorado ski instructor Chalky White will tell you. White didn’t start skiing until he was 26. He didn’t find it easy. But he loved it, so by the time he was 31, he had quit his job as British bobby (that’s a police officer) and was a ski instructor. Talk about perseverance and effort.
The Seven Secrets of Skiing targets skiers of all levels from beginner to expert. In this book, White explains an “athletic stance” is important and the fundamentals of balance and recovery. Turning is essentially a shift in balance and turning successfully requires reestablishing an athletic stance. Simple? Well, possibly, but as White reinforces, it takes some perseverance and effort.
I liked two things about White’s book. First, while it’s comprehensive (some might think too comprehensive at 180 pages), he breaks the components down into short exercises which you can practice on mountain, at home and in your hotel or condo. You don’t need to be on snow to improve your skills.
Secondly, if you pick out just one exercise from each chapter to work on, you’ll see improvement. I tried an exercise where I pretend to have a $100 bill tucked into the top of each boot, between my shin and boot top. If I release the forward pressure on my boot, the bills fly away. Coincidentally, that means I’ve also lost my athletic stance.
On the downside, The Seven Secrets of Skiing is long and very detailed. White has a generous writing style which may not be for everyone, as it requires paying attention to get through some of the longer turns of phrase. White recommends reading the book through before trying the exercises. This is probably good advice, but for someone like me (scattered, impatient, enthusiastic and distracted), not realistic. So, I read when I could and took what I wanted. And, by golly, I’m not going to lose those $100 bills!
Faster & Easier Learning on Rossignol’s Experience Skis
For years, I’ve been advising ski parents to buy their kids “the best equipment you can afford.” I don’t care if it’s a ski coat, long underwear or the boards themselves, skiing is more fun when you’re using good gear (and warmer, too!). The same applies to adults. You’ll enjoy skiing and riding so much more if you’ve got the right gear.
Get the Good Stuff
But what if you’re renting gear as part of a lesson? How do you make sure you, and your kids, are not learning on skis that are played out and boots that are packed out? You need to ask. Find out how old the equipment is and how it is maintained. If the equipment looks old and tired, ask for something better. Even if you have to pay a bit more to demo equipment, it could be worth it.
Second, look for a Rossignol Experience Center. This season, Rossignol is partnering with ski schools at 14 resorts, from Whiteface Mountain, New York to Sierra-at-Tahoe, California and many points in between (including resorts in Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana). These ski schools will be teaching students on Rossignol’s Experience series skis, with “Auto Turn Rocker” (I know. You’re asking, “what does that mean?”).
Rather than go into the specifics of side cut, tip and tail rocker, underfoot camber and edge angle, I’m going to refer you to the following graphic and the Rossignol website to learn more about how these skis are shaped and constructed.
Practically, however, what this means is that skiers of all levels (but not juniors) will be able to take advantage of the latest ski technology and learn on up-to-date equipment. Beginners can expect easier gliding, steering and stopping, while better skiers benefit from easy carving and maneuverability.
Lower the Learning Curve
A 2011-2012 report by SIA (Snowsports Industries America) found that the primary reason skiers and snowboarders quit riding is “the challenge of getting better at the sport.” When you look back fifty years and see what people were skiing on then, it makes you realize how good we’ve got it. Each year, the best new skis incorporate the latest new technology, all of which is aimed at making these sports easier, not harder.
Many ski school clients are unlikely to be in the market for new skis each season, so helmets off to Rossignol for working with ski schools to ensure that even first-timers can experience excellence in ski technology and learn a new sport with less frustration.
I’m all for anything that makes snowsports easier and more fun for more families. If you know of other ski and snowboard manufacturers who are offering similar programs, let me know! Let’s get the word out.
To facilitate this post, I read The Seven Secrets of Skiing as a PDF. I have not read Four Words for Great Skiing, nor have I used the Rossignol Experience Center equipment. As always, all opinions are my own and are exactly what I would tell my family and friends.
This giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to Alyssa!
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