Types Of Turns

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Types Of Turns

Postby Irish Rover » Sun Apr 18, 2004 3:37 pm

I have read all the PMTS books (including the Instructor's Manual), and have also watched all 3 videos. I understand the difference between the Phantom, Super-Phantom, and the Weighted release. I have also practiced all 3 of these turns. What I need some advise on is this: When is each turn most useful? I tend to use the Super-Phantom as my "bread-and Butter" turn on groomed trails (don't get much real powder back East anyway). And it seems to me that the Weighted release might be a better choice for pure carved turns. But how about the "steeps"? The bumps? Even those rare occasions when we get powder? I'll look forward to your guidance and experience.
Pat Ryan
Irish Rover

my personal experience on the three releases

Postby John Mason » Sun Apr 18, 2004 9:39 pm

For me the first release is just a learning release

The 2nd release - super phantom - is actually my harder release because I'm not patient enough with it so I try to turn that outside ski anyway. (that's pretty bad isn't it!) I can do it now ok, but now I kinda look at it as the release to work through to not stem turns.

The 3rd release or weighted release is so overlapped to the 2nd release that as your LTE edge momment shrinks and you do more of controlled collapse of your stance foot rather than "lift it", the 2nd release becomes the weighted release. For me, anyway, I'm finding the weighted release is the easiest to perform.

For me, the term "lift" meant actually lift the stance foot up. Not only did this shift my weight, but I would be on my LTE too long and tend to traverse my transitions rather than flowing down the hill. I actually like collapse better. Your weight still shifts, the skis stay on the snow and it is a more active way to release your turn.

My own personal view is that the SP release unless carefully coached has potential to get people into trouble. I taught my brother in law to ski about 2 weeks ago. He was doing pretty good on blues by the end of the morning and was doing turns by edging. We kinda just skipped the SP. He did not have a wedge since we skipped that too. There was no stem entry for him to unlearn. Had I taught him the detail of the SP I believe it would have held him back.

In my case, I had a big stem entry to unlearn so the SP was more useful and probably required for me.

The best phrase I have heard for the weighted release is the phrase, "pretend your leg is pnematic and let the air bleed out of it like a baloon going flat". With this mental picture in the weighted release, you are not lifting the stance leg, but doing an active controlled relaxation of the stance leg to do the release. Depending on "how fast" you let the air out you can create whatever speed of release you need for the arc of the turn you are carving.

Also, in some types of terrain the weighted release is your better choice since you can keep weight on both legs (but as you said you don't have powder out east).

The reason to continue the Super Phantom even after one has the Weighted Release down is that it's great to have a turn where you really do want the weight on purely one ski. One ski balance makes for a better carve and also is better on hard or icy conditions as you'll get more bite with the weight on just one ski. Just make sure the "lift" of the stance ski occurs early so that your CM continues down the hill and over the skis smoothly. In other words, to expand on where the SP can mess people up some (I was one), you switch to the LTE of the current inside ski while it's still the inside and uphill ski. If you do it late you'll stop your CM from moving down the hill and change this move to a "step up" the hill. You don't want to do that.

In my own experience with the SP, I found I got a bit messed up because its taught off a LTE traverse. When used in an actual turn, you don't want any traverse. The move to the LTE is done while that edge is on the snow anyway and your body is still up the hill from the skis as your completing your prior turn. LTE takes the weight as you lift and tip the stance leg to create the lateral tipping that creates the new turn. Do the LTE late after you have already lifted and tipped and you will find yourself stepping up the hill.

But the SP is a fun way to release that creates a great one ski turn. Weighted release will normally have some weight on both skis. Once both are learned, there is really not much difference at all except for the weight distribution. It's the same move - get the weight off the stance foot while tipping that same stance foot to create the release that also generates the lateral tipping that creates the engagement for the new turn.

HH is working on a new book. I hope if we can share some personal problems we had working through stuff he can hone some of the external cues and add a more comprehensive list of common problems people self coaching PMTS might get themselves into.

My other problem I had to work through which I had gotten myself into was indirectly caused because the pole plant comes pretty late in the normal PMTS training. I understand why since you don't want to bury a student with stuff all at once. But, even without the pole plant, there is such a tendancy for new students of PMTS and is also is a common skier mistake by whatever teaching method which is to "throw the shoulder" to create the turn. Since PMTS focuses on the feet, the upper body comes in later in the training. In my case, and I have early videos that show me doing this, even though I'm doing the moves pretty well with my feet, I'm overpowering them with upper body rotation and actually creating my turns this flawed way. Anything that a new student can do to be aware of this early on without having to resort to pole planting to fix it the better. One thing I used with my brother in law in his lesson was to have him drag the ski tips and keep them on the snow. This forces one to focus on the feet and prevents the typical throwing the shoulder into the new turn that new students often make. (if you really want to get aggressive with this move, then you can hold the poles upside down then grab them beneath their baskets then turn them back to the snow - this will absolutly stop the shoulder rotation and allow the student the feel of edging to do turns).

Bascially, from my experience, introducing some from of upper body discipline with an external cue very early on in PMTS would help the self coached reader of PMTS books proceed better in my opinion. I didn't get my upper body flaw under control till I went to a blue camp in December when the excellent PMTS coaches all saw what I was doing wrong and worked with me to settle my upper body.

I'm still very new to this all, I'm just sharing my current understanding and personal experience. I'd be curious to know other people's experience with the SP and if they had some trouble with it like I did.
John Mason
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Postby jbotti » Mon Apr 19, 2004 7:16 am

John Mason, I too had a fairly bad problem with the stem entry. At the all mountain camp I attended in March, this problem was addressed and the solution was the super phantom drill. Actually it was called the Hippo drill, where I was told to traverse on the little toe edge for at least two counts of "hippo" and then initiate the turn by tipping the little toe egde of the other (new non stance ski). I agree with you in that there is something somewhat unnatural about this, and that in most skiing this set of circumstances rarely occurs. But this really is a drill. What it has forced me to learn is a gentle rolling of my stance leg from LTE to flat or released to engaged (BTE). This was hard for me at first as I wasn't willing for the turn to develop on it's own, hence the desire to have a stem entry. By practicing this religously (and hour or so each time I ski), it forces me to get quite flexed in my soon to be new stance leg, and it forces me to be agressive with my tipping with my new non stance foot (otherwise I will remain on the LTE of my new stance foot). I recently went back and watched the Expert Skier One Video. Near the beginning Harald is shown doing short radius turns without a weighted release. I went out to try this this weekend because I almost always use a weighted release on my shorter radius turns. I was amazed how easy it was for me. Practicing the super phantom drill (or the "Hippo" drill) has improved my balance substantially and it has trained me to allow each turn to develop gradually and for it to be initiated soley by the tipping of the LTE.
As for upper body, I had the same issue. I doubt that my upper body position is where Harald would like it most of the time, but I have mostly eliminated leading with my shoulder (turning left leading with my left shoulder). The drill that has helped me the most is picking out a spot on the horizon after each turn and trying to keep my eyes and upper body focused on that spot for as long as I can into the next turn. This worked immediately for me and I think it is a simple and elegant solution for this problem. I also think that it very easy for anyone (beginners) to grasp.
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Types Of Turns

Postby Patrof3 » Mon Apr 19, 2004 8:13 am

Thanks John (great comments, as always) and JDB. I am going to print your responses and really think about them in detail.
Pat Ryanjavascript:emoticon(':)')

Postby Guest » Mon Apr 19, 2004 12:58 pm

Maybe, once all the different types of turn entry have been cracked, they can be blended.
And after the one footed balance stuff is sorted, you can begin to vary the weight distribution - as it suits you, at that moment.
Are they all really separate turns, or just tools towards higher levels still?

Postby jclayton » Mon Apr 19, 2004 3:59 pm

it's pretty obvious if you have the slightest capacity for logical thought that if turns are done differently then they are different !!!

Your other stuff is just garbled , meaningless and airy fairy.

What we get from Harald is concrete and gives concrete results . Its also logical and clear !!!

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Postby Carv_lust » Mon Apr 19, 2004 6:06 pm

Guest, go back to Epic where your jibberish is understood.

Postby mechanic » Mon Apr 19, 2004 11:51 pm


I can make pure carves by tipping the inside foot, pointing the inside foot, tipping or pointing the outside foot, tipping or turning my upper body. etc. All these different ways of making the turn happen all result in the same outcome, I leave two thin arced lines in the snow behind me and go really fast. So, are all these turns different because I use different movements to produce them or are they all the same because the outcome is always the same?


Postby Harald » Tue Apr 20, 2004 7:41 am

Mechanic, I may be confused by your terminology, but how can pointing your foot produce the same result as tipping the foot. Pointing the foot is akin to steering, which does not engage the ski, tipping engages the skis, either the ski you are tipping or the other ski. Where are you pointing the foot? Are you pointing it into the direction of the turn or downhill? I don?t understand, this is very confusing terminology and what you describe doesn?t produce the same results or turns as tipping.

Postby mechanic » Tue Apr 20, 2004 11:15 am


Indeed, terminology and definitions do get in the way in this world of cyberskiing. In developing PMTS it was necessary for you to use definitions of terms that were of necessity more sharply focused than the definitions used by the mass of ski instructors. This sharpening of terms has been one of the reasons for the lack of understanding between PMTS and much of the rest of the ski instruction world, the same sentence can have very different meanings to the two groups.

To more directly answer your question. I can produce RR tracks using the movement cues of either foot or of the upper body. Some of these cues produce the turn very easily, tipping the right foot right is the easiest way to get the desired result, and others can produce the turn but it is much more difficult to get the desired result, use of the upper body is the most difficult way to produce these turns. Also, because I am focusing on different cues the 'feel' of the turns is different. But, the fact remains that I do get the same outcome from different cues. Which cues I use depends on how efficent I want to be and what feeling I want to get out of my skiing. If your position is that only tipping can produce the RR track turn then I strongly disagree with you because my real world experience goes against that, but if you are just saying that tipping is the most efficient way to get this turn then we agree.

When I use the term pointing I apparently mean something very different from what the word means to you. From what I have read I gather that for you pointing implies pivoting of the skis for me pivoting is the least component of pointing. We strongly agree that the most efficent skiing is founded on the premise of actions of the right foot to take us right and actions of the left foot take us left. Where we disagree is in the actions of the foot. You have chosen to focus on the tipping movement. I have developed a method which blends tipping of the foot with 'pointing' of the foot. Why, muddy the waters by adding in 'pointing' if tipping can produce any turn I might want to make you ask. Because some of the turns I want to make (any turn that is drifted. brushed or skidded) are easier to produce by 'pointing' than by tipping and I feel I have more precise control of these turns by 'pointing'.

I use the terms tipping or 'pointing' generally to refer to tipping/'pointing' of the right foot to the right and the left foot to the left. If I use these terms in other context I try to make that very clear.

If this discussion continues I'll try to get my hands on one of your books so that we can use a consistant set of definitions, it has been a long time since I read them.


Postby Harald » Tue Apr 20, 2004 4:07 pm

My experience in Cyber space is that terminology and definitions only get in the way when they are unclear or out of context. I have no difficulty reading and understanding the posts by PMTS skiers or instructors on this site. It is only when TTS instructors begin to throw around terminology that you have to be an insider to understand that confusion arises.

Postby tommy » Wed Apr 21, 2004 6:25 am

In my skiing this season, I've noticed that I use:

*) Super Phantom for "brushed" turns, e.g. in steeps or moguls
*) Weighted Release for "pure carved turns"
*) two-footed release in powder

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Types of Turns

Postby Irish Rover » Wed Apr 21, 2004 8:23 am

Thanks Tommy-that says it about as presisely as I can imagine.
Pat Ryan
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Postby mechanic » Wed Apr 21, 2004 11:02 am


Terminology in our profession is indeed something of a muddled mess. A large part of this comes from the 50+ years that skiing has been taught in this country largely using the same terminology but modifying slightly the meanings of the words. Rotary/rotation means different things to someone learning/teachin Arleberg (sp) opposed to reverse shoulder or down-up-down and something else to someone learning the 70's GLM. So many of the words we use have similar histories.

Further complicating this is the internationalization of ski instruiction in the US. At my resort we have Aussis, Kiwis, East and West Europeans, Canadians, representatives of three or four South American countries and otlhers. Each brings along slightly different interpretations of the same words.

Then, there's me. I've been teaching outside the box of traditional ski instruction for so many years I have developed something of a personal vocabulary to best communicate with my students, and I have to modify this when I conduct clinics for other instructors so that I can best communicate with them.

I would love to see a consistant set of definitions adopted but the size of the ski instructor community, its diversity, it's resistance to change, etc. all conspire to make this a very unlikely happening. Only by saying to hell with the whole thing and starting from scratch as you did can something like this be accomplished. And that road tends to lead to a us verses them outcome that we see today in various on line ski forums.


Postby Harald » Thu Apr 22, 2004 9:12 am

You stated in a earlier post that [quote] ["In developing PMTS it was necessary for you to use definitions of terms that were of necessity more sharply focused than the definitions used by the mass of ski instructors. This sharpening of terms has been one of the reasons for the lack of understanding between PMTS and much of the rest of the ski instruction world, the same sentence can have very different meanings to the two groups.?]

If PMTS is more sharply focused it is only because it describes actions and how to make movements, not because it was designed specifically to be more sharply focused.
Why is it that the definitions and terms in PMTS are easily understood by thousands of readers who have no skiing background? Hundreds of readers have contacted me personally and told me how easy the books and concepts are to understand. However, as you point out, ski instructors have difficulty with PMTS terminology or are often confused about how the system works. I hesitate to suggest reasons for TTS instructors lack of movement understanding.


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