Phantom Move as per PMTS

Some will say skiing is all physics, but the description of forces, the way they act and what forces we use (external vs. internal) change when the skier uses different movements, timing, speed, position of balance, ski bend or ski skid. In these different situations, therefore, we must be very careful to establish context, and not make blanket or universal statements about the effects of the Phantom Move or try to prove a point by relating everything to the one science. In every stage of skier development we may see a different set of external demands and internal responses.

A wide-stance, two-footed skier has fewer options in the release then a skier who has a narrower stance and balances on the inside edge of the outside ski throughout the turn. In PMTS we begin teaching our skiers to balance on one ski edge and to transfer balance from one ski edge to the other in traverses. Then we build the tipping movements that will transfer pressure from one edge to the other. Often, these movements of changing edges are practiced statically.

This process includes flexing or bending at the knees to allow for less resistance to edge tipping through transition. It is only logical to assume that not all skiers learn these skills in one session. Some skiers make tremendous progress with two to three half-day sessions. By tremendous progress I mean making Phantom Move transitions with leg flexion and foot tipping of the old stance ski.

Even at relatively slow speeds, these skiers begin to perform a turn transition without much active extension of the new stance leg. The performance of this Green to Blue-level PMTS skier is not often found in Traditional Teaching Systems ("TTS") until level seven; even at that level skiers may not possess the balancing skills for a Phantom Move. I point this out because we have to understand movement capability and what different movements do or do not cause or offer to the skier. Only then can we have a discussion that can be put in the context of science - science that applies to the situation.

In my example of a PMTS skier, the skier does not need assistance from the uphill (previous inside) leg to help push the torso or center of gravity ("CG") into transition.

The stance leg in a PMTS skier is more extended through the turn than the inside leg. When the skier begins to bend the stance leg to start a release, the CG moves toward and at an angle to the stance foot and fall line. Importantly, this beginning of flexion and of the release doesn’t end the turn arc; that happens when the skis come flat to the snow. The stance leg doesn’t need to support the body’s full weight during this phase. We call this phase "The Float".

The old stance leg does not support the full weight of the body during transition (unless you are doing weighted release exercises at slow speeds), nor does the old inside leg. I get the feeling that some skiers think that the old inside leg needs to extend, support and push the CG through the transition.

We do not take this approach, as it is not needed if the skier has proper balance and preparation. At times in the development of skiers, we do teach tipping with weight on either leg or foot, of course, because at first skiers will not develop enough "float" to completely unweight the skis in transitions, but we do not emphasize extension of the new stance leg or pushing the CG. We do not teach extension of either leg during transition. We teach bending of the stance leg to match the flex of the inside leg, and tipping the feet during this phase of release.

Do you need to understand physics to perform the movements described for transition or engagement as a PMTS skier? Of course not. Do you need to know how to balance and edge your skis at a high enough angle to hold against slope’s steepness or the slippery snow surfaces? Yes. Explaining how and why we are able to make these movements happen in every situation is the physics of skiing, but it is not part of the acquisition of skiing technique. Knowing, experiencing and applying your body and mind to correct movements bring to fruition the goals of every skier.