So how was it.. at Big Sky?

PMTS Forum

So how was it.. at Big Sky?

Postby piggyslayer » Mon Mar 01, 2004 8:18 pm

I am one of those who did not make it to Big Sky (or any other camp this year) :( ... so how was it?
How many of you has decided to jump from the gondola to impress the instructors?
Any powder days?
Where did you ski?
Were the top gondola runs open?
What were the conditions like at the top?

Piggy Slayer
let the piggy breathe
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Big Sky

Postby John Mason » Mon Mar 01, 2004 9:01 pm

I skied Sunday,Monday, and Tuesday - Then I skipped class :oops: . I was (in my opinion) holding up my group.

My turns to the left were a bit broken on the moguls. I should be getting my right boot back (air freight overnight) with another 1 and 1/2 degree adjustment to it. I'll practice this weekend at (boo hoo) Perfect North, which is actually perfectly south near Cincinatti. It's been 50 and raining here in Lafayette (150 miles north of perfect north), so I would imagine It'll be pure mush or pure ice by this weekend. (if mush - out come the i75 monsters, if ice out come the 6 stars)

However, the next week I go Thu,Fri,Saturday skiing in Mammoth. Then I'll get to try out the new alignment and practice further. (Besides simply having a lot of fun skiing) (Perfect North has 400 feet of vertical - so Mammoth will be a very nice change indeed)

That was my first time at big sky - I probably should have just hung around and enjoyed the location, but in any case I would have had to take a leg break day Wednesday and I had a client shipping me a broken server that was arriving Thursday. After I got back and waited for the server my staff got around to telling me they got the server working by trying what I had told them to try while I was still at Big Sky. Bummer.

Big Sky is awesome. The intermediate runs are not as long or as vertical per lift ride as Copper, but, even on Sunday, there are no lines. Also, there is a lot of variety and the snow quality was exceptional. Oh, and did I mention there were no lines!

I have pictures from Sunday where you can see the whole run and there was no one in the picture. (Back side of Andisite) Just wish it was easier to get to.

On my drive down to Salt Lake city (I had to be at the airport by 5:55am the next morning) I drove through just driving snow then rain for a couple of hundred miles. But it looks like that all ended up south of Big Sky.

There was no snow thru Tuesday while I was there, but I kept checking the weather and it looks like they got a bit on Thu eve -Friday.

Before the class I would just freak in bumps, but the time I cut out, the smaller bumps were not a problem anymore. The bigger ones were still a problem and I'll continue working on that. So even the little I was there was quite profitable for me. :D
John Mason
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Postby Mr. T » Tue Mar 02, 2004 7:38 am

Hi Piggyslayer,

The Camp was excellent. I was in the intermediate group that happened to be a lot of fun. We skied blue, blacks and double blacks. The blue runs on Andesite Mountain were excellent, a real pleasure. But I definitely like the most the few double blacks we took on Lone Mountain. The ride with the tram was exciting and skiing down from the top of Lone Peak worth every inch of it. That's the skiing I wanted to do and I've got to do it. Finally I am a double black belt in skiing. Bumps were soft and not too big
as there are not enough skiers to make them big. I did enjoy them.
The crud part was my reason to be in the intermediate group. I really suffer the crud and we skied some of it as well. It really is my weakest
spot at skiing.

The first three days there was no new snow, but it snowed on Thursday from the early morning till the morning of Friday, so on Friday we had our
chance to try powder. It was 4-12 inches deep depending on what sections of the resort we found ourselves at

This camp was great for several reasons:

- I really enjoy skiing with the guys in my group;
- I've got to ski my first double black run (and Big Sky is in the top 15 resorts for challenge according to some major ski magazines) and discovered that I can push the limit up a little bit further.
- I've got to ski powder for the first time in my life (except for one day
in Alta where it was a white-out day and hence almost useless)
- The videos showed that I am improving and quite a bit from last year.

Big Sky is a nice resort. To ski is one of the best I've visited. I would pick
Big Sky over Alta or Kicking Horse anyday. I still like Lake Louise better
though. In my opinion it is definitely smaller than Vail, but more challenging overall.

Accomodations are expensive in general as they are meant for more than 1-2 people per room. Kicking Horse price-wise was definitely a better-value, but the skiing at Big Sky was superior.

It is expensive, and the road (Hwy 191) from Big Sky to Bozeman can be
a nightmare with a snowstorm and it did happen on Saturday morning so
many of us had a hard time to get to the airport on time. I had to fly from
Billings and I barely made. Others were delayed in Salt Lake City.. But all
in all it was a nice camp.

I surely left a little bit of my heart there.

Mr. T
Posts: 104
Joined: Wed Oct 22, 2003 7:57 am
Location: California

Big Sky

Postby johnk » Tue Mar 02, 2004 10:06 am

Mr. T,

The camp sounds great! I don't know if they plan to offer this one in Big Sky again but it seems like the place to go.

Do you know what the reaction was of those in the beginning goup? I am trying to get an idea if that will be a problem for me. I only started working on the "Solid, Short Turn" at the end of the Blue/Dark Blue camp and I've made some progress. I want to try one of the all mountain camps next year. What is your opinion of the level of proficiency one needs for the beginning group?

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Location: Fairfax Station, VA

Postby -- SCSA » Tue Mar 02, 2004 12:19 pm


Why did the client have to ship you the server? What the heck kinda computer guy are you? :wink:

Well - they didn't have to ship it to me - actually

Postby John Mason » Tue Mar 02, 2004 1:01 pm

We have clients all over the country. We build and set up about 20% of our clients servers. Normally, they rely on a local hardware support person if their is a problem. In this client's case, they didn't have any local hardware support person, so they were going to send it back to me. I got their call on Monday and told them some things to try through my staff. They claimed these things didn't help and they were going to send it. However, it ended up they actually didn't try what I said and when they did it did fix the problem, but they never bothered calling back my office.

Now - back to skiing related topics!
John Mason
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Joined: Wed Feb 18, 2004 10:52 pm
Location: Lafayette, Indiana, USA

JohnK from Fairfax - report from Beginning Group

Postby John Mason » Tue Mar 02, 2004 1:11 pm

I already gave feedback earlier and I was in the beginning group. You and I were in the same group for some of the blue/dark blue camp at copper. Hi again!

We did one footed drills for the 1st 2 days. Starting the afternoon of the 1st day we were doing the one footed (little toe edge on upper ski while phantomizing the unweighted or actually lifted about to become inside ski) turns on small Moguls.

On the 2nd day we started on some warm up blue groomers then went to some more traditionally sized Moguls and continued the 1 foot drill. In my case, my legs were out of gas by that 2nd afternoon and I would have had to take Wednesday totally off. I was falling in the Moguls and holding up the 4 remaining in the group. Colin from Australia had called it a day before lunch.

Anyway - the falls I took in the Moguls pretty much destroyed my back so I called it a week and went home. Normally skiing makes my trouble prone back better. But, falling more than undoes that benefit. The fall that did me in, was I had done my turn off the top of one Mogul, but the little toe edge ski did not go up the side of the next mogul, but rather plowed into it causing a rather immediate face plant. I suppose I could have avoided this one of two ways, been active and flexed to raise my skis rather than trusting that my ski would ride up the face of the next mogul, or changed my line and skipped that mogul and go to the next one over.

From what I remembered at the Dec camp you could have been in our group. I believe you and I did the slalom on the last day at copper.

Jeff M was in our group, he was there the whole week and is an articulate reporter. He should have some good insights.
John Mason
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Joined: Wed Feb 18, 2004 10:52 pm
Location: Lafayette, Indiana, USA

Postby -- SCSA » Tue Mar 02, 2004 4:57 pm

hi piggy,

I didn't go to any camps but I'm makingturns with HH this Friday and I'm psyched. Will post all the nasty details! 8)

Be cool,

Big Sky

Postby johnk » Tue Mar 02, 2004 6:06 pm

Of course I remember you. I didn't look carefully at your earlier post about getting boots at Copper. Like you I took a nice fall after getting pulled off balance in some slush while turning. My shoulder still reminds me of that one. The sixty degree weather here has probably ended the season here. Based upon what you said I'll look forward to an all mountain camp next year, probably with the same type of tumbles you had. Oh well.
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Postby h.harb » Wed Mar 03, 2004 7:36 am

Big Sky camp Update

The Harb Ski Systems staff thought the Big Sky Camp was more than worth while as it offered exceptional skiing, great learning opportunities, friendly and helpful ski area personnel and no crowds. Big Sky is not cheap as ski resorts go, but it is definitely not in the same league with Aspen, Vail or Beaver Creek, when considering lodging and lift costs.

There is a huge variety of terrain and the snow has been better than what we had in Colorado the last two seasons. Diana, Jim Ackers Colleen Kennedy (friends who have a home at Big Sky) and I had drinks and a social evening with the CEO, Taylor Middleton on Friday. Taylor has become a good friend as we have similar interests, he is an avid fly fisherman and biker. He is a strong supporter of our program. Taylor is truly a unique ski resort executive. He listens, is very interactive and passionate about his resort. He has been with Big Sky since the beginning.

He was asking many questions about how our campers felt about their stay at his resort. My feeling is that Big Sky is our best camp, as it offers the largest variety of terrain and snow of all our camp locations.

Campers that I skied with were very pleased with the mountain and the skiing. We moved back and forth from learning and practice terrain to challenging sometimes intimidating terrain depending on the energy level and mood of the group. We had one rotation of groups during the week, so I skied with two different groups. I find it interesting that in almost every situation in our all mountain camps the skiers want to work on their technical development on moderate slopes as much as they want to ski off piste and steep ungroomed. This is wise, as few skiers can ski steep challenging terrain everyday all week and improve their skiing.

PMTS Movements
The most reveling technical challenge for skiers wanting to become proficient at all mountain (this was again confirmed at this camp) is the ability to release (flex and bend) the old stance leg and keep the upper body from driving (rotation) the turning force. I am constantly looking for ways to introduce leg flexing, bending or relaxing at the point of release. When the lower leg on the slope is rigid or stiff the body can only move into the next turn in two ways: up and over the stiff leg, or up and around the stiff leg. We always look for new ways to identify for students how to add more leg flexing movements to their skiing. Sometimes we resort to exaggerating the action by relating it to crouching, squatting and compressing. These more dramatic terms seem to get the message across for some. Although once you have the ability to flex the lower leg to release it seems like such a small, quick, easy movement, but to those who have yet to learn and be confident with it, bending is a real challenge. Much of the reluctance is apprehension, of course, therefore we practice on easier slopes. The two most underrated abilities needed to be an excellent all mountain skiers are leg bending (bend more than you ever thought) and upper body discipline. Bending and flexing goes along with releasing and tipping, but the start/beginning of the release has to include relaxing of the lower leg. We had excellent results with our skiers in the camp especially on moderate off piste terrain and groomed.

Benefits of PMTS Movements
One of the benefits of the PMTS system is that it improves your skiing every time you go out. Even if you don?t specifically practice movements just skiing with a PMTS foundation will improve your skiing. Think about skiing with a wedge Christie foundation what does that do every time you ski?

If you are into practice, remember only practice with exact, accurate movements makes the difference you are looking for, if incorrect movements slip into your practice, ie up movements or pushing your Cm into the trun, your results and benefits of practice are reduced considerably.

We will have a camp at Big Sky again next year.

Postby Jeff Markham » Thu Mar 04, 2004 9:17 am

IMHO, this was the best camp that I have attended (but then I've found that the most recent camp is always the "best"). FWIW, I've now been to five Harb Ski Systems camps (G/B, G/B, B/DB, B/DB, A-M) . [You would think that there would be a "law of diminishing returns" regarding repeated camp attendence, but I have not found that to be so. If anything, I have received greater value from each successive camp because I am increasingly better able to absorb/integrate/implement the coaching.]

I cannot compare this Big Sky A-M camp to other A-M camps since it was my first, but I can compare it to previous camps.

My personal goal in attending this camp was to extend my PMTS skiing from the groomers to off-piste conditions. Intellectually, I was aware that the PMTS techniques were applicable to the off-piste conditions. However, in off-piste conditions I found myself reverting to pre-PMTS survival behavior. I really wasn't sure how to ski off-piste other than simply thrusting myself into the terrain and hoping that I'd be able to "salvage" some PMTS techniques.

There were several advantages to this A-M camp as opposed to "going it alone".

First, I was better able to understand and evaluate off-piste conditions. I usually ski alone (no doubt a tribute to my personality ;-) ) and haven't skied much off-piste, so it is difficult for me to assess off-piste terrain. I found it valuable to have a coach with me who could point out the various issues associated with off-piste in general and a given slope in particular.

Second, similarly to the above, it was valuable to have a coach along who could assess the "do-ability" of a particular slope. Given my lack of judgement in this regard, I would be faced with either over-estimating the difficulty (and therefore not challenging myself enough) or under-estimating the difficulty (at best damaging my confidence, at worst putting myself at risk). I had complete faith in the coaches' judgement in this regard, so I didn't worry (OK, not nearly as much) about whether a slope was do-able.

As Harald mentioned, we alternated between learning and practice terrain, between less- and more-challenging terrain. Psychologically, this had a great effect because you *can* do a difficult thing if you believe that you won't have to do it forever.

Another thing different about the Big Sky A-M camp from other HSS camps is the amount of instruction, e.g., 5 days x 6 hours, versus 5 days x 3 hours or 3 days x 6 hours. Even though I am obviously in peak physical condition (<---joke), I had some pre-camp concerns about getting physically burned out. Diana reassured me that HSS was well aware of these issues and would be keeping an eye out for camper burnout. So, although there was inevitably a "gosh, I'm tired" day (Tuesday for me), I was satisfied with the overall exertion level.

I believe that the comaraderie at this camp was greater than at previous camps. Partially, this was due to the camp size (approx. 18 campers) as compared to larger camps (e.g., the December B/DB camp with approx. 46 campers). However, since were almost all -- campers and coaches -- staying in resort housing, it was more convenient to get together for apres-ski social activities. In addition, the coaches were "captive" as well, as opposed to leaving for home/shop at the end of the day. If I'm not mistaken, there were at least three get-togethers and at all I had a great time enjoying the company of the coaches and other campers.

So, if you're considering this camp, I would refer you to the web page: "Skiers must be comfortable on intermediate/advanced terrain, and must want to ski in ungroomed terrain, to attend".

Personally, I feel that I now have a plan for skiing off-piste terrain. In addition, my comfort-level has increased and I am looking forward to improving my new skills.

I had a great time at this camp and will be back next year.
Jeff Markham
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Location: Sandy, Utah

Postby piggyslayer » Fri Mar 05, 2004 9:58 pm

It looks like I missed the best camp of all :(
Well there will be next year.
I wish there was a way of posting pictures on this forum without having your own web server, that way I am sure this thread would be nicely decorated.

Could someone e-mail me some pictures?
Piggy Slayer
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