Ski Divergent

Imagine being able to cope with everything the mountain throws at you. All types of terrain, all types of snow conditions, all types of weather and all types of hazards. Not an easy task or is it? Phil Smith from Snoworks Ski Courses explains ‘Going Divergent’

Does This Statements Sound Familiar To You?
“Yesterday everything seemed to be going really well but today I just can’t get it together.”

If it does then it could be time to look at the way you learn to ski and the way you ski, because what you may actually be saying is “Yesterday I was so lucky, the snow, the weather, the terrain, matched my ski technique perfectly but today I was so unlucky, everywhere I skied, the terrain, the weather, the snow, the terrain, did not match my skiing”.

How can you get back from skiing every day and say “Wow, what a day!”? The answer is to go ‘divergent’.

Divergent Learning and Skiing – Creating Solutions
Divergent learning starts with a single problem and out of the single problem we create multiple solutions. You just keep going with solution after solution after solution until you can’t come up with any more. Great problem solvers are divergent thinkers. Great businessmen are divergent thinkers. You need multiple solutions to every one problem. Then you can narrow down the solutions to the most appropriate, the most desirable, the most suitable. Divergent skiing is when you are free to constantly change how you ski to adapt to the ever changing conditions until you find the most desirable outcome. There is no set ‘style’, no particular ‘way of skiing’, just the freedom to move, adjust, adapt and change to suit the ever changing mountain environment.

A classic example of limiting our options is ‘skiing parallel’. It was and still is in many cases  ‘The Holy Grail’ of skiing. Ski schools teach it, books write bout it, videos describe it. But it can be so limiting. Teach something else like a stem or plough and our students feel we are taking them backwards rather than adding to their skill base. Conventional teaching is exactly that, replacing rather than adding. Learn to Plough, replace Plough with Stem Christie, replace Stem Christie with Parallel. Teach skidding, replace skidding with carving. In the end we are left with one technique, ‘a sort of carved parallel turn’ believing this is it, this is the technique for skiing. The other option is to teach Plough, add Stem Christie to Plough, teach Parallel, add Parallel to Plough and Stem Christie, teach skidding, teach carving, add carving to skidding. In the and we are left with a whole armoury of skills, ready to tackle whatever the mountain throws our way. Nothing is replaced just added to.

Great skiers are all ‘divergent skiers’. They have learnt divergent, have a divergent attitude and ski divergently. You can see this in all the top free skiers and racers. They know how to create solutions on the move, instantaneously.

Divergent sports people do things differently and unexpectedly. They lead the way, create their own style. They find many solutions to every problem.

Divergent learning, thinking, skiing and developing a divergent attitude doesn’t happen over night if you’ve learnt convergent. It will take some time. There is no one way of doing things, no one technique, no one style. So to begin with if you are used to looking for set answers it may seem a bit vague, a bit open ended. It may even feel like you are not learning as there is nobody telling you exactly what you must do. Just helping you to create solutions to all the problems the mountain throws your way. But stick with it. In the end you will have the tools to ski everywhere, whatever the terrain, conditions and weather. Every day will be a wow day.

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Phil Smith is founder of Snoworks All-Mountain Ski Courses. Snoworks runs Ski Courses throughout the year where you can learn divergent skiing to become a competent all-mountain skier learning to cope with everything the mountain throws your way.

Reference: Muska Mosston, Spectrum Of Teaching Styles, Divergent Style

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