07 Stages of Development


 Stages of Movement Pattern Development

 There is much beyond the first lesson


Stage 116.  The initial phase for the absolute beginner.  By the end of a two hour lesson, you should be capable of executing basic skidded turns on gentle terrain, though without rythm.  There should be some consistency and balance visible in your efforts to traverse, though the direction of travel will tend to follow the fall line more than anything else.


Stage 2. Skidded linked turns with rythm and established stance and balance.  At this point you are able to successfully deviate from the fall line with consistency and a sense of timing.  Your stance has developed to the extent that you are no longer flailing your arms or bending at the waist in search of balance.  Your stance is still relatively tall, but your joints are flexed, as opposed to standing with the knees locked out.  You are capable of negotiating gentle beginner terrain with the occasional fall.


Stage 3.  Pseudo-carved turns with shape on gentle/intermediate terrain with rythm.  You exhibit a greater degree of flexion in the joints, resulting in a slightly lowered stance, and a greater ability to balance.  Your hips and shoulders have moved towards a functionally square relationship to the board.  Turn entry is not so abrupt, as you are more patient in allowing the board to move into the fall line.  Your upper body is quieter, with less random hand/arm movement, as more of the balancing work is being done with the lower body.  Turns are initiated with a subtle move of the body mass down the hill across the board.  There may be a slight degree of hip angulation, and/ or the ability ot move fore and aft on the board to initiate and finish turns.


Stage 4.  Skidded rythmic turns on intermediate, low end expert terrain (groomed), carved ‘sidecut’ turns on beginner and low intermediate terrain.  You have developed a greater sense of fore/aft pressuring movements, and the assertive lateral movement of the body mass to initiate turns (crossover).  On gentle terrain, you should be able to work through the series of ‘Norm’ drills to develop greater sense of timing for turn entry/exit, and a replicable feel for crossover.  Your stance should be consistent and functional, and turns should be made with even and variable tempo.  Edge sensitivity has developed to the extent that the turn entry is smooth without skid, and the turns are completed with successful speed control.


Stage 5.  Consistent carved long radius turns on groomed intermediate terrain with shape and control of speed.  Crossover has been firmly established and reinforced with hip angulation and proper shoulder/snow relationship (parallel to snow, perpendicular to the length of the board).  You are beginning to develop a greater sense of fore/aft pressure control as an introduction to crossunder and upper/lower body separation.  Turns exhibit even cadence, and smooth entry/exit.


Stage 6.  Development of cross-under on groomed intermediate terrain.  You have developed an effective, lowered stance and the use of camber/decamber to channel energy from one turn into the next.  With the increased separation of upper and lower body,  turn shape can more easily be varied, with a maintenace of speed control.  You have become more dynamic in your riding ability, and you are capable of riding on broken snow with some degree of success.


Stage 7.  Cross-through.17

The effective blending of crossover and crossunder which allows you to balance off of your movement flow.  Upper and lower body separation and development of balancing skill allows riding on a variety of terrain and surfaces.  Ice is just another point on the Rockwell hardness scale.  “…To carve, to carve, to carve, even if it was icy…”.

(16) Stage 1.   By the end of a two-hour lesson, a prospective rider should be able to descend easy terrain sideslipping on at least one edge.  Safely.  To heck with turning.


(17) Cross-through.  I first heard the phrase ‘cross-through’ from Tom Reynolds, who created the Ski Industries Program at the University of Maine at Farmington.  He said at the time (1992?) that I was one of the few people who understood the term, and what he was getting at.  In retrospect, I suspect that we were thinking of two somewhat different, yet related processes.    

 “To carve…”  Jean Nerva, with Peter Bauer, from the 1991 ADventureScope Movie Scream of Consciousness, presented by Burton Snowboards.