PMTS - myths I often hear

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PMTS - myths I often hear

Postby John Mason » Sun Mar 14, 2004 1:51 am

VailInstructor said:

"That being said, I still don't understand from a physics point of view how you can make a turn with a turning radius less than the turning radius described by the shape of the ski, without steering. I just don't get it."

Many people, not familar with PMTS state some myths. The above statement by VailInstructor is the first myth:

1. Since the outside leg is the "Stance Ski" there is no outside leg rotation.

but - there is outside leg rotation, it's just passive (thus the term "Stance"). The more you tip the inside leg, the more the external leg rotates. Thus you can use a PMTS move to pretty much turn in place if you'd like. David Weiss showed me this on my first PMTS lesson where I insisted that a hip kickout hockey skid would still be needed, then he showed me that, you can indeed just do it with a strong phantom move too (and easier). If you match your tipping and resulting rotational effect to the ski's natural turn radius and how much bending of the skis you have, then you will carve. But you can very easily tip more and result in a pivoting turn. (like the phantom move on top of a mogul) With the Phantom Move your body is thrown into the turn while the rotation occurs. With external leg steering, your body actually naturally tries to move out over the skis. This creates uncomfortable conflict. A turn done with the phantom move is very balanced and natural.

2. PMTS has negative motions in it's learning phases just like normal traditional progressions. The usual example of this is, the move to the old inside ski's little toe edge moves the body uphill which is ultimately unlearned by the time the weighted release comes into play.

This myth is false because the body does not move uphill when the old inside ski is weighted on it's little toe edge because at the time this occurs the release has not started and the inside leg is already naturally on it's little toe edge. This little toe edge release can and is still used after the full PMTS progression.

3. Isn't the tip and turn traditionally taught turn the same as a PMTS turn?

If you look at various writings of the of the tip and turn philosophy, they believe the tip and turn initiates the new release but then outside leg steering is used to shape it. In PMTS, there is an overlap in some descriptions of tip and turn as I have seen people state it, but the turn is shaped by adjusting the amount of inside leg tipping. This adherence to outside leg steering is the biggest single commanlity amongst many traditional teaching systems and the biggest single difference to PMTS.

4. A PMTS turn results in a skidded turn.

Many PMTS critics, think the phantom move is simple inside leg steering. This is where you do not have your ski's parallel, but twist (not tip) the inside leg at a greater turn angle. This creates a whole body twisting action as the body catches up. This inside leg steering is taught against by both traditional and PMTS methods. In reality, PMTS has no inside leg steering but is a true parallel approach. It's the tipping of the inside ski that causes outside femur rotation. A skidded turn is when the tail comes around faster than the tip. This is usually caused by outside leg steering used to initiate a turn, or exactly the type of thing PMTS gets rid of.

5. A wedge is unavoidable at slow speeds. Even acomplished PMTS people will revert to wedge entry at slow speeds on shallow slopes.

I've read this but I don't get it. If you are doing the little toe edge on the upper ski at the point of transistion, there is no wedge entry and this works on the slowest turns one can imagine.

6. PMTS isn't versitile enough for real sking.

I suppose if this was true and not a myth, that would comfort the traditional approach with their goal-less, post-modern, all turns are fine and acceptable approach to teaching. But the fact is that while many different types of turns are taught and practiced, PMTS is much more versitile than many think. Since many non-PMTS people think that "stance" foot means not external foot rotation, they cannot fathom how PMTS turns can result in a drifted turn or a pivot turn, etc. But since PMTS will allow for complete control of a wide range of rotational torque, but does it accuratly with minute foot movements of the inside foot rather than gross upper hip rotater movements, PMTS is actually more versitile than traditional methods of turning the skis. Check out Eric and Rob DesLauriss Book, Ski the Whole Mountain. That requires versitile sking. They teach a total PMTS approach for all terrain throughout their book. Both approaches allow for exception turns like a hop turn. But, what is the normal bread and butter turn that is being taught. In PMTS it is an efficient work of art. In most traditional approaches there is some level of stemming that is never eliminated.

7. PMTS is all about and only about 1 ski being weighted thus limiting the approach to groomers.

PMTS, as in the all mountain book above, are the same movements with both skis weighted the same as in powder, or in one ski weighted as in carving on groomers, or anything in between. (it's versitile)

Those are 7 I can think of. Hopefully, if someone scanning this forum is still trying to understand PMTS and has heard different things without actually themselves going to camps or taking lessons or even reading the books, this might help on the biggest 7 misunderstandings.

As far as traditional instruction being dictated by the student as VailResorts said, I'm sure every teacher, PMTS or traditional would agree with some aspects of that statement. There are various different PMTS drills that help move people along that can be selected from. The difference is that in PMTS there is a goal of an efficient turn type that uses modern ski technology best. The student is brought to that goal in a rather direct fashion without having to discard transition movements as there are no transition movements. In much of traditional instruction the very idea of an ideal turn type is rejected. If I was (and I am) a student, guess where I'd rather spend my money and time.

I do see a problem in doing PMTS in a rental environment since one ski balance is very needed for even the 1st drills. But many, like myself, find them very dificult without proper alignment. One possible solution would be to have a plate system on beginning rental skis that allow for canting at the ski level. This would be lower cost to implement than in a ski boot.

I'm still new, relatively speaking to PMTS (I'm in my 13th month of skiing), so any input to my above myth list would be appreciated. By carefully and accuratly explaining what I've heard critics say verses what is my understanding of PMTS and my experience I hope some of the critics might be more inclined to try PMTS out for themselves and their students instead of simply dismissing it based on myths they have heard.
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Postby milesb » Sun Mar 14, 2004 8:44 am

Actually #5 isn't really a myth, but the speeds at which it would happen make it fall into the category of an exercise. Because the forces of the turn at that slow a speed are insufficient to allow the center of mass to be inside of the free foot. Go slow enough and the wedge will happen, OR you will rotate into the turn. Now if you lift the inside foot completely off the snow, you will have no wedge, but that's kind of cheating, isnt it! But again, #5 has very little relevance to real skiing, it's just a "nyah nyah Harb, you DO teach a wedge!" kind of thing.
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number 5 myth

Postby John Mason » Sun Mar 14, 2004 9:58 am

interesting, because I was speaking from my experience with PMTS and when going very slow I do lift my inside leg. There are not enough turn forces to throw the weight to the outside leg, so I just lift it so there is no wedge. I might have the tip touching the snow.

I just thought that was normal to lift the inside ski for slow speed stuff. (I find I use all movements taught depending on the situation - no discarded movement patterns)

So I don't know if its normal or not to wedge at very slow speeds, but you are hitting the nail on the head on why it is brought up. (and I do use a wedge for stopping in tipped lift lines so I don't think anyone is saying never wedge, just don't use it as a base for learning ski technique) (but that might make another interesting thread)

Did you think of any other myths I missed or did I get most of them?
John Mason
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Postby hh » Sun Mar 14, 2004 4:51 pm

Expert skiers can avoid a wedge at any speed, even 1 mph without lifting. Balance and exact edge control will do it. Look at the two footed release, it requires precise balance, but it can be done without a wedge. It can but done from a static start. Those that have never done just don't know.

Postby hh » Sun Mar 14, 2004 6:06 pm

John, you continue to amaze me, I have been educating, clinicing and writing about good ski movement (even before PMTS was formed and after my coaching days) for the last ten years and rarely find someone in the instructor world with such a clear understanding of skiing as you have. I found your myths true in almost every case; these myths are in the instructor culture, which goes along with their mis-quoting and understanding of PMTS. You, although relatively new to skiing, figured this out and can write and speak about skiing and the differences intelligently, clearly and accurately. You have an uncanny understanding of the way things really work; you developed it quickly.

This is often the case with skiers who learn the PMTS system, just look at the posts on this site. The skiers here are not brain washed, or confused, they have an analytical sense and they have the investigatory ability to learn and discover. This is fascinating as all the posters (except me) on the PMTS forum are almost all skiers and almost all the posters on the Epic Instruction forum are instructors. I won?t comment on which group I think has a more global and encompassing view of skiing. The question should be which group is more important?

?The customer of Course?.

Our philosophy is, educate the customer, and let the client make the decisions about how and what they want to learn. Almost all of our clients began to ski with the traditional methods. Many have years and hundreds of lessons behind them, many with private lessons. How many do we find return to the traditional systems after they have experienced PMTS, not yet?

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