Wide Stance - Narrow Stance

PMTS Forum

Wide Stance - Narrow Stance

Postby John Mason » Wed Mar 17, 2004 1:41 pm

Observations from the newbie. In contrasting what is often taught vs PMTS's focused approach, I noted in an earlier post that the major difference between much teaching and PMTS is how the ski's are turned. In many TTS's, its outside leg steering, while in PMTS it's inside leg tipping. This stance issue came up in the recent tips thread, but it comes up all the time on other forums and seems to be another, perhaps, hallmark difference between PMTS and many traditional ski instruction methods.

For me, in my experience, wide stance does not equal stability. If my skies are wide I am stable just standing there, but once I start skiing a wide stance makes subtle shifts in balance impossible. Balance shifts must be made with whole body movements rather as responses to inside leg tipping movements. With a narrow stance and one ski balance, the CM moves from the inside of one turn to the inside of the new turn by moving a matter of inches. With a wide stance, the CM is not only harder to get to move, but must move farther. (try balancing on one leg standing still with both a narrow and a wide stance, the wider the harder)

The other experience that may seem counter intuitive as far as stance and stability goes, and this has been a big one for me, with a wide stance in uneven terrain, bumps and crud, you are more likely to be fighting with each ski trying to go it's own direction as each ski is on terrain that is different than the terrain the other ski is encountering a mere 1 foot away. This is common sense. The closer your skis are the more likely to be on terrain that is reacting with the skis in a similar fashion. So, bumps and crud are easier to ski with a narrow stance and with one ski weighted than with a wide stance. In a wide stance with weight balanced on both skis you are much more likely to lose balance as one ski goes its way and another ski goes its different way.

I have not skied much powder (just one day so far), but from what I have read in both Harolds, Lito's, Craig's and Eric and Rob's book all recommend a narrow stance with more evenly weighted skis - making the skis work like a monoski - sort of.

Personally, I have had nothing but trouble from anything in my skiing related to a wide stance. I wonder if the current trend to ski with a wider stance comes from misintrepeting pictures of racers. In most pictures of high end racers, their legs are together, but their feet are apart. This is a narrow stance but just inclined.
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Postby hh » Wed Mar 17, 2004 2:44 pm

John, again, you are absolutely right, have a look at my recent threat for further confirmation about the wide vs. narrower stance issue. Stand corrected!

There will also be a day when PSIA realizes that steering and rotary descriptions of how to turn skis is a bad way to describe ski turning actions. But, at the same time they will deny that they ever used it. Remember they are all encompassing. They use all systems and every correct teaching approach. They are in fact omnipotent.
hh
 

Postby Ott Gangl » Wed Mar 17, 2004 4:11 pm

>>> Remember they are all encompassing. They use all systems and every correct teaching approach. They are in fact omnipotent<<<

Harald, is there any problem when an instructor of any ilk decides that your approach works best with a student that he uses it?

Shouldn't an instructor use whatever s/he decides is the best approach at the time, may it be Austrian, French, PMTS or PSIA?

....Ott
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I'm sure that's what my first teacher thought

Postby John Mason » Wed Mar 17, 2004 5:14 pm

I'm sure my original teacher with 30 years teaching experience was quite sincere. But, if there is indeed a best way, or a best way to turn modern skis, then I want to be taught that way and towards that goal. My first lesson was a total waste of 300 dollars. Those basic skills I learned that day took months to work out of my skiing. Looking at the usually taught progressions, the things I learned in that first lesson persist through most of the traditional teaching progression.

If there isn't a best way to turn the skis, then your premise is correct. Go teach whatever to whomever. There is no goal anyway so what does it matter.

So now we have 3 major differences:

1. How skis best turn
2. Stance
3. A belief that there is a best type of turn to strive for.

Ott - your post brings up one of the major problems, lack of any scientific method applied to teaching or to ski technique itself.
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Postby Ott Gangl » Wed Mar 17, 2004 5:36 pm

>>>Ott - your post brings up one of the major problems, lack of any scientific method applied to teaching or to ski technique itself.<<<

John, with your vast experience I presume you have no idea how we all learned to ski, including Harald. And an exprienced teacher will teach a person to ski in a way that best fits that person.

Mrs. Smith from Birmingham and her friends from the crochet club decided to have an outing and learn to ski. They are in their 40s and 50s and mostly quite overweight and not too serious, you teach them one way to enjoy a safe evening out.

Next lesson is an athletic teenager who is the goalie of his high school team, agile and instantly translates all the instructions into correct action, you teach him another way.

As for the best way to turn: There are many ,many ways to turn, you should be able to do them all, not just the best way.

John, as for your wasted $300. You may have had a lousy teacher, but have you considered that you may also have been a lousy student? Instructors see lots of those.

...Ott

editd for spelling..
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Postby hh » Wed Mar 17, 2004 5:44 pm

There are no poor students only bad, very bad and horrible instructors!!!
hh
 

Postby hh » Wed Mar 17, 2004 5:47 pm

In fact that statement is insulting to the level I have almost never heard. I have never seen a bad student. I have seen students with challenges, bad alignment, poor boots, bad prior lessons, underdeveloped balance but I have never, I say never seen , and I assure you I will never see a bad student, because I won't let it happen.
hh
 

Postby hh » Wed Mar 17, 2004 5:52 pm

Otto,

I hope you are not misunderstanding me. I have no problem with anyone using or learning to use the PMTS system. I do think it is very naive and unjust and assumptive to say you understand a system without going through the training or accreditation. I don?t make comments about the Canadian system because I am not accredited in it.

Contrary to what most instructors believe PMTS is much more than the Phantom Move and keeping your feet together. I do have problems with instructors saying they know how to use PMTS and all these other systems that are supposed to be at their disposal. PSIA says they are open to all these different approaches, but the instructors I have trained, coached or examined, and seen in action have difficulty teaching a good athlete to ski a parallel turn in one day, let alone applying other systems and understanding the quality of movement needed be effective in those systems.

I hear it everyday from our clients. Harb Ski Systems teaches over four hundred skiers every season and they are all levels from beginners to national championship racers and they are from all over the US and the world. I hear the same thing over and over. You want some examples of what I hear from my clients: ?I was told to put my feet apart and steer my feet.? If you use these examples the student learns no transfer of balance, no engagement of the skis, and no focus on balance. According to my clients this is the standard lesson. (Remember I was their once, I have seen al this in action) I listen to my clients and I can?t disagree with them.


I know we are going to get all kinds of flack from the EPIC boys over this, but I am only demonstrating for you what I hear from my clients.
I think encompassing all systems is the latest tactic from PSIA in an attempt to diminish the realization that the mechanics coming from the skills concept are ineffective, and inappropriate for shaped skis.
I?m not against PSIA, I just wish it would vote in some leadership and that it would begin to figure out the certification does not substitute for instructor training programs. PSIA needs to reorganize, not fix itself up by adding band aids through assumption that they embrace all ski teaching. This just muddies the waters and makes it more confusing for the instructor.
hh
 

Postby Ott Gangl » Wed Mar 17, 2004 5:53 pm

Well, Harald, you need to visit some midwestern areas where high school student are contracted for weekly lessons in which they partake only because their advisor shaparons them.

These kids stand in line waving to their friends on the chairlift, make jokes and you have to remind them that they are up next but they wont go until they finish telling their joke and they havent heard a word the instructor told them nor have they paid any attention to the demonstration, they just want the hour to pass so they can socialize with their friends

Those are bad students, and like in their school class, they disrupt the few of the dozen in class who want to take the lesson seriously.

In you elitist view you see only student who actually want to be there.

....Ott
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Postby hh » Wed Mar 17, 2004 6:06 pm

Otto,

I don?t want to get off on the wrong foot with you, but you are out of line. I am the furthest thing from an elitist. I am a down to earth, from ground up student of the function of the body and the biomechanics of skiing. I don?t care if my students have deformities, disabilities (mental or physical) lack of interest or fear. I will do my best to introduce the great sport of skiing to them or Ill get out. I wouldn?t make excesses for failure and continuing failure.

I?ll discover how to either find a motivation or system to involve my students. I have done and still do all of these things. If I have a student with a deformed leg, I?ll invent the boots, shims or skis that will give them enough ski control to learn the sport. If I have a group of kids who are bored or lack interest, I?ll make it interesting. I have been through these situations. I have taught bus loads of school kids emptying in the parking lot of mid west ski areas. I have taught band kids from Oklahoma who haven?t slept for 24 hours because they partied all night on the bus ride. I worked from the ground up and I never take for granted what I do now or where I am now.
hh
 

Postby Ott Gangl » Wed Mar 17, 2004 6:12 pm

Harald, no insulting view intended. There are many ways to skin a cat, so to speak, and you know well that a good instructor, when out on the slope with serious students teaches them what they don't know, no matter where the knowledge comes from.

As for yur method, I bought your first book and went out and skied everything in it, it it works beautifully. Fine. I also came through the Austrian technique whith long skis and we skied very narrow stance, I now free ski with my feet 2-6 inches apart because that feels comfortable and does the job. I also lift or lighten my inside ski when I need to get all the weight on the outside ski, but I don't think about it, it just happens.

I retired from teaching skiing after 25 years in 1985 but have kept up with the advances, including yours, the Austrians who have had spectacular results, and PSIA.

My gripe is not with any method, it is with the system that throws zillions of walk up skiers at an area ski school who uses anyone who can halfway ski as an instructor.

You can't just walk into a doctor's office, or a plumber's or even a golf pro's without making an appointment first. That's how it should be with ski instruction if it wants to be considered a profession.

....Ott
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Postby Ott Gangl » Wed Mar 17, 2004 6:19 pm

>>>In you elitist view you see only student who actually want to be there. <<<

By that I meant what it said, the students you have now all want to be with you and your staff, that is a rare thing anymore and I believe you that you don't encounter a bad student.

It can distort reality and as you said you used to have to contend with bus loads of unwilling students, but I'll bet you don't anymore.

....Ott
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Postby hh » Wed Mar 17, 2004 6:34 pm

The ski areas and the ski industry are their own worst enemy. There must be something really great about skiing becasue they do keep coming back, maybe not as many as should, but many come back even after horrible first time experiences. Lucky for the ski industry as there are more bad ifrst time experiences than good ones.
hh
 

You guys are agreeing sometimes

Postby John Mason » Wed Mar 17, 2004 6:42 pm

The mass ski school has a hard problem. Students that don't want to learn. But lots of ski schools also have students that want to learn but are taught bad things.

If you go to one of Harolds camps you will find, usually, not pretty recent skiers like I am, but, on the contrary, you find skiers that have skied for years and taken lessons and shelled out lots of money and time but are still stuck at a very intermediate level. That's the normal Harold student. Most of these students blame, most of all, the movement patterns they were taught, not their sincere and caring teachers. (and I'm not being sarcastic here, most teachers, including my first one are very sincere.) There are movement patterns that many teachers teach that do not lead to good sking.

That's the fundemental reason, in my opinion, why Harold's students are excited about their experience.

Here is another problem with ski instruction in this country. My first lesson was a traditional lesson, and my second lesson was a PMTS lesson. They were both taught at the same resort. I would not have been able to get a PMTS oriented lesson at this resort unless I had known ahead of time and hired as a private lesson, the PMTS certified instructor. This instructor told me that unless he had been hired in this way he is not allowed to deviate from the resort prescribed progression. I can understand this resort not wanting a bunch of freelancers with the attendent liablities, but then why not sanction a better method of teaching?

There is safety in telling people you are a PSIA certified ski school with all PSIA certified instrcutors from a ski resort perspective. But this shuts out innovation. The ski technology has totally changed but the instruction has not. It's not a pretty situation for most students out there.
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epic battles

Postby rob » Thu Mar 18, 2004 8:42 am

Just wanted to add my two cents on some of the comments about epic ski.

I am a skier not an instructor.

Epicski has been a great forum for my skiing. While I can't contribute on the technical stuff for the most part it is a great forum. Through the forum I found a great instructor right here in the flat lands of Wisconsin. I believe he is a PSIA Examiner and has had exposure to PMTS as well and seems to live without a major bleeding ulcer.

My skiing has improved dramatically over this season and is much more efficient. Epicski had a big hand in that improvement. I ski with the perspective that I can always get better and want to keep my mindset open. Skiing should be about going down a hill as efficiently as possible, not like joining a church.

Mr. Harb, from everything I can tell, you are a truly talented skier and instructor from whom we can all learn a lot. I just don't understand why you would paint all the folks at Epic with such a broad brush. Personally, I like the mismash of all the different types of folks over there. I think I'm discerning enough to pick the gems out from the gravel and can still appreciate that gravel is sometimes useful even if not valuable. I even miss SCSA from time to time.

So, while I certainly wouldn't want to see a giant group hug, how about trying to hold your head above the fray and acknowledge that some good can come from those that don't follow your entire program lock, stock and barrel?

Regards.

Rob
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