a personal view on key aspects of PMTS

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a personal view on key aspects of PMTS

Postby tommy » Fri Mar 26, 2004 8:44 am

After a season of attempting to ski using PMTS, the list below is my current understanding of the key aspects of PMTS. These are the key differentiators that I've noticed when comparing PMTS to my other ski instruction experiences, or other ski litterature.

I noticed while thinking about the list that most of the items actually deal with the "methodology" of ski instruction, and very few deal with skiing technique itself. This is consistent with my belief that PMTS first and foremost is a "systematic approach" for ski instruction. The benefits of a systematic approach have for me been very obvious this season - despite not having access to ski with a PMTS instructor, I've been able to analyze and adjust my own skiing by using the books, videos and this forum. That would not have been possible without well defined concepts and terminology.

* focus on balance (primarily aiming at ability to (momentarily) stand on one ski in transition - balance transfer)
* focus on importance of alignment and equipment selection
* identification & definition of movements involved in turn transition (Release,Transfer, Engage)
* identification & definition of different release types (Two footed, SuperPhantom, Weighted) and their use
* definition of a terminology (a defined, common vocabulary helps in communication with instructors/other PMTS skiers, as well as assists in "self-coaching")
* defined roles for different feet (free foot/stance foot)
* turns are initiated with the free foot

Cheers,
Tommy
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Looks like a good list

Postby John Mason » Sun Mar 28, 2004 1:37 am

Looks like a good list.

I'd be interested in your feedback on these other differences.

Compared to much that is taught here in the USA (which well might be different than your experience) PMTS also has these differences in the technique area:

1. A narrow stance as opposed to a wide stance (not boots locked though - for me it's 6 inches or less)
2. Elimination of the wedge as a progression tool
3. No active steering of the outside leg to either initiate or to shape turns
4. A focus on little toe edges instead of big toe edges
5. Letting the skis turn you rather than turning the skis

But, your instruction in Sweden may have incorporated much of 1 through 5 above. In the US there is a lot of focus currently on a wide stance, and steering the outside leg, and using the wedge in early progressions.

Other subtleties in PMTS that are not obvious is, footbed design is for a footbed that does not lock in the foot in the boot. It's a footbed with some give. Not totally soft like some cork ones we have in the US, but not rock hard like many footbed makers will make you. The PMTS goal is to allow modulation of the turn by tipping pressure of the inside ski within the boot. A ridgid footbed forces larger muscles further up the kinetic chain to be used for this, which is not as effective.

Also, though PMTS focuses on one ski balance, it allows flexibilty as in even weighting on both skis for skiing powder. Turns are still initiated with the inside foot, but it is not "lifted" but just tipped. (I'm still working on the powder skiing as I only ran into 1 powder day so far in my ski life).

PMTS also has a number of focuses on the upper body which are not immediately obvious. PMTS does not do bobbing up and down, but extends the legs as the turns develop to keep the body from not bobbing up and down. Extension is horizontal, not vertical as needed to keep the body moving down the hill with as little movement as possible.

PMTS is also centered over the skis. It does not have people press the chins and load the front of the skis as this is not needed to make the new shaped skis turn. (but not in the back seat either - centered)

That's a few other things that are different from what some people teach.

I'm not certified in PMTS so any corrections, additions, subtractions are welcome.
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Postby tommy » Sun Mar 28, 2004 9:38 am

John,

very good points, and I agree with all of them. An other one, on the technique side I came to think about after reading your post is the focus on flexion ("let the gravity do the work") in transition. Whether we want to call it collapsing, flexing or something else, I think this one is clearly different from what I've been able to absorb from other teaching systems.

Some comments on your list:

#1 I took a carving lesson early spring last season here, before going to Hintertux. The first thing the instructor told me (and I hadn't given much thought to stance width before) was "widen your stance". Then we started practicing "park & ride" type of carving on groomed slopes. Sure, I managed to do these GS turns, but I never got the point nor reason why I should go wide. Maybe my balance at that point wasn't too good, but otherwise I don't know. Now, after having practiced PMTS about a year, I keep a fairly narrow stance as the home base, maybe some 15 cm between my boots, but when doing carving on groomers I increase the vertical distance considerably from midways towards the end of the turn. As been discussed in some other thread, my opinion is that a wide home base might work ok on groomers, but as soon as you get into bumps, powder, slush etc, a wide stance will direct each ski in a separate direction, as well as demand much more work to stay balanced.

#2 For beginners, I've never seen anything else but the wedge being taught here. My guess is that most people taking lessons here don't really care much about becoming better skiers - their goal is instead to be able to "slide down" most green & blue slopes in the resort, with as little study or practice as possible, as soon as possible. And for that purpose, the wedge is probably the quickest and easiest thing to learn. The negative sides of the wedge are probably not that much of concern to someone who "skis" 3-5 days per season, mainly as a form of "socialising".

I've posted in an other thread about the knee problems I used to have before PMTS, and still have, if I'm for some reason forced to wedge. An other experience on the topic is below:

Early December I took a friend of my son (both are 10 years) to a local resort. This boy is quite overweight, non-athletic, and not in a very good physical condition, for instance, he's terrified to fall because he can't get up on his own. He's not skied more than a few times before. The first day he took a lesson, but complained badly after a while about general fatique, and pain in legs & knees. The lesson focused on the wedge as the main mean to get the kids down. He was basically wanting to quit the whole idea of skiing. Next day he basically didn't want to ski, but I persuaded him to practice for a while with me. So, I showed him the stepping/shuffling exercises of PMTS, and maybe after an hour of practicing these, the Phantom move. After 2 hours he was able to link a few turns on green slopes using the phantom move, and he was really exited about skiing again.

#3 for me is perhaps the biggest technical difference of what I try to do now, following PMTS, compared to my previous (mostly home brew) "technique": initiating turns with the free ski. In fact, all the non-PMTS lessons I've taken during the past years, no instructor has actually bothered to explain how a transition is to be done. The only advice, common to all my lessons, was something vague like "stand up in trasition, let the skis go downwards by them selves, and sink down once you've passed the fall line". PMTS, on the other hand, not only has a well defined sequence of "events" that occur in transition (R,T,E), but also a clear description of how the transition is supposed to happen. This clarity has been key to my skiing this season; having a clear description of the various movements in transition, and how to do them, has allowed me to analyze and hopefully correct my skiing on my own.

#4. Before PMTS, the little toe edges were totally unused in my skiing. In fact, after a day of skiing on hard snow, I could always immediately see from vax wear which ski had been left vs right. Now, in similar conditions, the vax wears down much more evenly under the ski. I'm not sure if this is only because I now "load" the little toe edge more during "general" skiing, or if it's because I spend quite a lot of time skiing with one ski only. Before PMTS and the alignment done by Harald, there was no way I could ski on the little toe edge. Today I have no problems linking turns on moderate slopes, nor doing little toe side hockey stops, with one ski only.
An other observation I've made is that my inline riding skills have vastly improved after my PMTS experience - again, before PMTS, I only used the inside "edges" of my inlines, now I can use the little toe "edges" both for turn control, as a mean to increase stroke length.

#5. This one I have some trouble with and would appreciate any thoughts on: in very short turns, even when using PMTS, there has to be an amount of skidding or brushing (i.e. non pure carving) involved. In order to keep speed in control, when travelling in a very narrow corridor, I've found that when doing these very short turns it's beneficial for me to add a slight "heel push" with the feet at end of turn. So I guess this is contrary the idea of "letting the skis turn you". But without this heel push, I have hard time keeping the turns short enough on steeps.

Cheers,
Tommy
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Postby milesb » Sun Mar 28, 2004 10:11 am

For Pete's sake, Tommy stop with the heel pushing! Get the expert 2 book and video (if you don't already have them) to learn how to make good PMTS short turns, it's not really that hard.
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Postby tommy » Sun Mar 28, 2004 10:18 am

Milesb,

beleive me, I've tried! :-)

I've studied the #2 book & video countless times, and I still don't get how to make "a very short" turn on steeps without that pushing...

And to be perfectly honest, when I watch Harald skiing in video 2 (don't have the video right here, so can't say where), it does look to me like there is a slight push at the end of turns. Now, this slight push, resulting in a slight "tail brush" might be accomplished by some other means than a heel push, e.g. pulling the free foot back, and tipping even more, I'm not sure.

The good thing is that Hintertux 04 is not too far away now, and I'll have an opportunity to get an indepth review of this...

Cheers,
Tommy
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Postby milesb » Sun Mar 28, 2004 1:46 pm

If you are centered on your skis, the end of a short turn on the steeps will naturally skid somewhat, you don't have to add anything. If your wieght is back, then the skis will want to carve, requiring a heel push to break them loose. Harb frequently carves the end of his short turns in the video, this is really a better way to ski. But carving short turns on the steeps is very technicly and physically demanding, so don't get frustrated. And think about delaying the engagement of the stance ski until the skis are almost pointed down the fall line. Again, watch the video to see how this is done.
There IS another way to make short turns on the steeps, but it involves steering the skis, so if you must, go to Epicski.com for that!
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Postby tommy » Sun Mar 28, 2004 2:35 pm

Milesb,

two very interesting pieces of information in your post got me thinking:

If your wieght is back, then the skis will want to carve, requiring a heel push to break them loose.


And think about delaying the engagement of the stance ski until the skis are almost pointed down the fall line.


The first one I can relate to directly, because lately in my skiing, while attempting to carve, I've been deliberately playing with moving CM fore/aft (or more correctly, diagonally), forwards at early transition & turn initiation, back at finishing turns. And that's seems to be helpful for "pure" carving.

But then, when the steepness & general conditions of the slope is beyond my current capabilies for carving, and I'd want to control speed by "brushing" the turns, the very same fore/aft movement pattern didn't feel as helpful. Your post might be a clue into the problem.

Wrt the second quote: again an interesting suggestion. In my carving attempts, I've strived for early engagement of the stance ski, which, for carving, seems to be helpful. Your post triggered some ideas on that early engagement might be counter productive if a brushed short turn is the intention...

I can't wait until trying these bits of advice out - looks like I have to take yet an other day off coming week.... :-)

Thanks, I appreciate the suggestions!

Cheers,
Tommy
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Short turns and PMTS

Postby John Mason » Sun Mar 28, 2004 3:22 pm

In my very first PMTS lesson, on my 2nd ski trip last April, I proposed to David Weiss that you still needed to pop the hip/heel out to do a hockey stop. He said or really, and instantly went down the hill and phantomed a hockey stop.

Apparently the Phantom move can create all the turn forces required for even a total pivot hockey stop turn.

I have to clear this fine point up.

On the one hand I have been told that the Phantom move when doing this is doing it by a slight addition of inside leg steering. But my own observations show that the skis can stay parallel and still generate a tight turn without any inside leg steering. My observation is that when you tip the inside leg, your inside knee will point into the new turn. This creates rotational torque on your hips which the outside leg will have to follow as it tries to stay neutral with the hip.

So you can generate a turn with ankle flexion and strong tipping without inside leg steering using just the Phantom Move. This makes for a nice brushed carve where the outside tail does not swing out. To use a car analogy, you can have a nice balanced 50/50 sports car that might drift a tad in turns yet not lose it's tail. The short phantom creates this speed bleeding drift effect usefull when it's steep.

This is my current understanding of this. Any thoughts on Phantom move vs or including inside leg steering to generate pivot or drifted non-tail skidded turns?
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