Super Blue!

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Super Blue!

Postby geoffda » Mon Jan 04, 2010 7:44 pm

Yeah, I know, this belongs under camps, but maybe the mods can leave it here for a few weeks so people can see it...

Here's a long report of my experiences at SuperBlue camp that will hopefully convince any fence sitters to go. Can't say enough good things about camp. The books, DVDs, etc are fantastic, but getting PMTS instruction in person really adds an additional element of understanding that is well worth the cost. Plus you get to ski with some great people and watch some really great skiers in action!

Day 1 of Super Blue camp dawned clear and cold. One degree F at the house at 8:00 am and no way to employ my usual rule of waiting until it warmed up to at least 10F to go skiing. So up to the Basin I go for the 8:30 meeting in the lodge. The day started with a group assembly near the Exhibition chair. Momentary confusion reigned when the Over The Hill Gang decided to group in the same area, but that was quickly sorted out. A preliminary split was made between the off-piste never-evers and the rest and up the mountain we went. For us all-mountain skiers, a ski-off was performed for further seperation. Short turns with speed control were demonstrated on upper Ramrod for an initial split. At that point, we had a group of 10 to split between Diana and Jay (Ski Synergy). So short turns at preferred speed were called for on lower Ramrod. I somewhat ignored the short turn part and cranked fast GSish turns which put me in Jay's group.

Once we had our group, we headed up to the top via Lenawee chair. As far as conditions go, the snow was good (first time in weeks that I won't have to tune my skis after a day of skiing on ice), but the coverage was thin. No Pali, no Montezuma Bowl. Anyway, on the way up, Jay asked us to think about some goals for the camp. Our group was pretty in sync on these. My personal goals were to work on rounder turns in the bumps and improve my edge hold on steep ice.

From the top of Lenawee, we headed down Dercum Gulch for a warmup run. Half way down, we stopped and Jay asked us to describe the movements we used at transition. This was a great thing to ask as we had at least one person with a big toe edge fixation, at least one extender, while I was forced to publicly admit my laziness when it comes to flexion. What is a PMTS instructor to do? Focus on primary movements of course! After finishing Dercum Gulch and regrouping at the top of Exhibition, Jay claimed to have formulated a plan and promptly stripped us of our poles. Knowing what was coming, I could tell that his plan was going to suck :D . Yes, you guessed it, boot touch drill all the way down High Noon! On the first run, we stayed in a full flexed position and focused on aggressive tipping of the ski corresponding to the direction we were trying to turn. With straight arms, the idea was to feel the knee of the leg with the foot being tipped move to the outside of the arm. Boot touch is a great drill, but after spending all of High Noon bent over, I was ready to move on by the time I got to the bottom. Not to mention that at times this drill felt like a live version of Frogger as riders blasted through our group while we were boot touching our way to the bottom.

Being sympathetic to our discomfort, Jay allowed us to stand more upright on the next run down High Noon. Instead of touching our boots, we were allowed to put our hands on our knees. I don't recall this drill being in the book (though it might be on the DVD--can't remember). Anyway, you make a fist and place it between your knees and put the other hand on top. To turn, you raise the hand corresponding the direction of the turn up and out (to force you to CB/CA a bit), while tipping. The idea is to feel the knee belonging to the leg of the foot being tipped to move away from the fist leaving you with empty space. It's instant feedback as to whether you are getting an O-frame. The downside is that the mental process is involved and tends to cause the turns to use the entire slope. Game 2 of Frogger was even more intense!

After that run, we went back up to the top and were allowed to stand slightly more upright. This time we did the pole drag down Dercum Gulch, but we had to grasp the poles a fist length under the grip. Now that I think about it, I think the overall effect was that we weren't any less flexed before and giving us our poles back was just a cheap placebo :D

In any event, the pole drag was terminated halfway down the Gulch and we headed to the bumps on the last face under Lenawee chair. We ended up skiers left (I can never remember the names down there). Anyway, the focus was on flexing the new free leg and tipping to carve a relaxed line on the side of the bump. For me, I especially appreciated seeing this kind of a line demonstrated and when I tried it, I found it allowed nice cruising through the bumps. Not to let a good thing go to waste, this sequence was repeated a second time.

Although it was approaching 12:00 at this point, Jay offered to do one more run with us to get some video. We were happy to keep getting instruction, so we jumped at the chance. One more trip up Lenawee and we shot video on upper Dercum Gulch. Not sure what happened with me, but I got hung up concentrating too much on flexing and skied like garbage. Thankfully we didn't review that segment. Next we shot video in the bumps under Lenawee which we also didn't review, but I felt like I skied well. Finally, we shot video on lower Ramrod which I also felt like I skied reasonably well. Done for the day we went in for lunch and video review.

The video was illuminating. We only reviewed the Ramrod footage as it was the best and Jay took a great deal of time teaching. In my case, my transitions were good (moving down into the turn), but I was getting a bit park & ridey.

One of the great things about PMTS camps is the instructors all seem to go the extra mile. On paper, this was supposed to be a half day, but in reality it turned into a 3/4 day I think for most groups.

So what did I learn today? Two key concepts really. The first was "Relax into the turn" otherwise known as "GIVE IN to the mountain". The idea is to flex the old stance leg enough to actually move down and into the turn (as opposed to even moving laterally). Obviously this only works if you start from a more moderately flexed position (if you are fully flexed, you have to move purely laterally). Prior to today, I've tended to let my CM come up a bit when I'm cruising by not flexing aggressively and letting the turn forces just pull me. Interestingly, Chris Brown showed me a demonstration as to why this may not always be ideal. If you do a wall lean with long leg-short leg, aggressive tipping and CA (as if you are finishing a turn), the idea is to try to move off the wall (as if into a new turn) from this static position. What you find (if you can do it) is that it is hardest if you try to extend the inside leg or even if you try to move laterally. It becomes fairly clear why moving down into the new turn involves the least amount of effort.

Two, aggressive flexion of the new free foot is the key to continuing to tip through the course of the new turn. In my case, I tend to get a bit static and park once I get a good angle. Because I wasn't fully flexing the free foot, it would eventually block me from further tipping, causing the park and ride. The admonition from Jay was simple: SUCK IT UP!

As it turns out, a secondary effect of my lack of continuous tipping was that my turn radii tended towards GS. Jay, who in earlier days had apparently been questioned by Harald as to when he was going to start using his slalom ski properly was unsympathetic to me doing the same thing and was constantly on my case to make shorter turns.

Anyway after much discussion and further teaching with video, Jay took off to catch a ride with Harald and a few of us headed back out to the mountain to work on what we'd learned.

After a trip up Lenawee to find flat light, I retired to Exhibition where I could see. My major focus was on aggressive flexion of the new free leg to enable continuous tipping. I can say my skiing was definitely different by the fact that it didn't feel particularly comfortable. Being so flexed was making me feel a bit squatty. For some reason, my backside sticks out a bit. Maybe hollow back or something that I need to follow up on. Meanwhile, I was definitely feeling the tip and was really able to crank some tight turns (though my stance ski slid out a couple of times; need to figure out what was up with that). One thing I noticed was that with aggressive flexion of the free foot, you can *really* tuck your foot back underneath you. The difference was pretty dramatic in terms of getting big angles and reduced radius.

I also tried some very short arced turns. That was a bit of a wow. Much more energy than before and things were happening *really* fast. Got caught out with fore-aft and one of my releases nearly turned into a helluva release.

After that I worked on some brushed to edge locked carves like all of the PMTS instructors can do. Tried to be slower and progressive with the tipping and maybe made some progress towards the end of the day. One of the other students that I was doing laps with thought I looked good, which made me feel slightly better. It's always a bit nerve wracking when your skiing is lying on the floor in little bits and pieces. Anyway, my skiing for the afternoon was definitely different. We'll find out tomorrow if I'm on the right track.
Last edited by geoffda on Wed Jan 06, 2010 7:18 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Super Blue!

Postby Max_501 » Mon Jan 04, 2010 8:36 pm

What a terrific report! Please keep it coming.
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Re: Super Blue!

Postby h.harb » Mon Jan 04, 2010 9:40 pm

Great report, some of the best lessons and biggest breakthroughs start with total disillusion and confusion.
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Re: Super Blue!

Postby HeluvaSkier » Mon Jan 04, 2010 11:21 pm

geoffda wrote:I also tried some very short arced turns. That was a bit of a wow. Much more energy than before and things were happening *really* fast. Got caught out with fore-aft and one of my releases nearly turned into a helluva release.

I made it into the report! :lol: Isn't it amazing how much energy is in these kinds of turns? If it isn't handled properly it can be disastrous. Great report.
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Re: Super Blue!

Postby Mac » Tue Jan 05, 2010 7:51 am

"Being sympathetic to our discomfort, Jay allowed us to stand more upright on the next run down High Noon. Instead of touching our boots, we were allowed to put our hands on our knees."

Jay? Sympathetic? Can't be the same guy I'm thinking of. :mrgreen:
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Re: Super Blue!

Postby Mac » Tue Jan 05, 2010 8:10 am

But to be fair, I'll have to back up what geoffda observed, that Jay has always been willing to go the extra mile over what could be expected in regard to his time and effort, as far as video analyisis and helping people with there individual problems, as well as helping out with boot and alignment issues. Way over and above the call of duty.
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Re: Super Blue!

Postby geoffda » Tue Jan 05, 2010 9:23 pm

Day 2 of camp dawned mostly cloudy. 10 F at the house so at least the thermometer test passes, but my high hopes for wearing gloves instead of mittens never came to fruition. I slept well, but woke up with tired mind and tired legs. A dose of ibuprofen quieted my lower back (which was sore from all of the boot touching from the day before) and I was off to the mountain. Apparently my prolific yawning was attracting attention as even Harald inquired as to how I was feeling. Fortunately, I came alive in the crisp air on the first chairlift ride. Otherwise, it would have been a long day (with six full hours dedicated to instruction).

Up to the top of the hill and Jay gave us a pass to take a warm up on upper Dercum Gulch. Well, almost a pass. We had to focus on something from yesterday to think about. For me it was continuous tipping instead of getting tipped and parking. Anyway, warmup went fine, but as I stopped at the slow sign and watched Jay ski down, I realized that his skiing was really pissing me off. When I came to camp, I was a pretty good skier, but now...Now the bar has been raised and I was just starting to realize the thousands of turns that it was going to take me to ski like Jay. Harald is one thing. You can cut yourself some slack for not skiing like a world-class athlete, but Jay is more like an ordinary guy (though I bet even Harald has never thrown a double back flip). Anyway, it is less easy to say I shouldn't be able to ski like Jay and, in fact, I can't so I'm pissed off :D. In case anyone is missing my tongue-in-cheek sentiments, Jay freaking rips as a skier and rocks as an instructor. I'm noticing this seems to be a common theme when it comes to PMTS instructors, but if you live in the Northwest, get yourself to Mt. Hood and grab a lesson from Jay. Enough said.

Warmup completed, the main theme of the day quickly became apparent. COUNTERBALANCING--with returning guest movements flexing and tipping. First drill on lower Dercum Gulch was boot touch with raising the inside arm up and out to promote CB. Then a quick pit stop at Black Mountain lodge which proved to be a good opportunity for Jay to divest us of our poles. By this point poles no longer held meaning for us (Poles? We don't need no stinking poles) so we meekly handed them over. Without poles we continued on with the original boot touch with CB drill down Sundance.

Arriving back at the top of Exhibition, we tried the trick of waiting nonchalantly in the vicinity of our poles, hoping that this would send a subconscious message to Jay that we wanted our poles back. This trick seemed to work yesterday, but it was utterly ineffective today. Poleless, we continued.

Next in the progression, was the same drill, but we were allowed to slowly begin lengthening the stance leg shortly above the falline. We repeated this drill two or three times and a couple of interesting things surfaced from discussions along the way. First, I'm sure most of us have struggled at one point or another with the drill of tipping your stance ski from big toe edge to little toe edge on a slope. The problem, of course, is that as soon as you tip your downhill ski off edge, it starts sliding before you can get it onto the little toe edge. What Jay demonstrated is if you start that drill with appropriate CB for being tipped into the hill, you can tip your downhill ski *only* onto little toe edge (while still hanging onto the little toe edge of the uphill ski). At this point you have an O-frame going. Then you can tip the uphill ski while switching your CB as appropriate for the new edges and you end up with a clean transfer. This works on surprisingly steep slopes and is really limited only by the amount of tipping can generate without untipping the uphill ski. Jay has a post on this somewhere when he talks about this as a release move for skiing the steeps, but when you do this statically, the true power of this sequence really becomes apparent.

The other interesting thing to me was just the timing of the lengthening. Aggressive flexion was really screwing with my skiing and my biggest problem was that my stance leg was collapsing. As Jay pointed out, this is bad because it effectively moves the CM back towards the outside of the turn and flattens the ski which compromises edge hold. This makes sense since flexion is how we release! Anyway, the timing of both the flexion and then allowing the stance leg to extend was turning me into a basket case, but at least the theory was making sense. And that is, that you want to stay flexed until just before the fall line at which point, the stance leg can be allowed to lengthen. With my pre-camp skiing that didn't involve aggressive flexion, this just worked for me. Now, I'm all messed up. So I comfort myself with Harald's advice about breakthroughs from fiascos and content myself with understanding the theory even if I can't currently do it. Letting the turn come to me and the extension just happen was something I used to do. Now I'm no longer convinced I even know how to turn... :D

Anyway, as part of doing these drills, Jay discussed the concept of breaking things down into a starting point and an ending point. The purpose being that if you do this, then the drill becomes a simple matter of just figuring out how to get from the starting point (which you are in) to whatever the end state is that you are aiming for. This became very useful to me. We had gone back up to the top to shoot some video and halfway down Dercum Gulch (which was an "off the record" run), Jay pulled me aside. The flexion/extension timing was killing me and I just couldn't get it figured out. Fortunately, Jay knows how to teach two year olds how to ski and he gave me something that worked. Namely, he set me up at the top of the turn in a fully flexed position. The end state was, I needed to be standing on an extended stance leg. Suddenly the problem became much simpler. Just tip into the freaking turn and allow the leg to extend. Even my mind could comprehend that. A couple of single turns lead to linking and viola! now I had something to work with.

So down to Ramrod for some video. But first, Jay made us tell him what we wanted to see in the video, and more importantly, provide an objective criteria for evaluating whether we had achieved our goal. Wow! How cool is that? In my case, I was going to evaluate success on having my stance leg extended in the .5-1 range (on a scale of five where 0 is straight and 5 is fully flexed) by the middle third of the turn. To raise the stakes a bit, the two students who least met their goals were going to owe the rest of the group beers. :D I definitely was feeling better in the first section, but then got a bit cocky and my turn radius started to grow unacceptably large in the second section. Jay yelled at me to stop so he could beat me up appropriately. This was actually a good thing because he said the turns he filmed after that were some of the best he'd seen me make all day. Baby steps...

At lunch there were all sorts of great technical tidbits being passed on, but I can't remember much of them now. I am convinced, however, that there should be a book titled "Cool Shit that Jay Knows that Every Good Skier Should Know Too." Did I mention I'm pissed off at Jay? I thought I knew a little about skiing when I came to camp, and now I know that I do know a *little* about skiing. That guy can go as deep as you want to on any skiing topic. Meanwhile, while we are on the subject of catchy titles and slogans, I have decided that PMTS should be marketed as "Tip and Flex More to Suck Less."

So as lunch ended, the choice was to watch video or ski. Naturally we chose to ski, so we'll see the video early in the AM tomorrow because Jay is the kind of guy that will sacrifice sleep to help his students improve. Of course nobody asked me if I'm the kind of student that will sacrifice sleep for my own improvement :D . Not sure how the whole beer thing will work out, but there you have it. In other news, I do have it on good authority that my bump footage yesterday was good. :D

So skiing. We headed back up top, but the light was flat so we retired back to the lower mountain for the remainder of the day. Drill numero uno I'll call pole position. Outside pole was boot touched on the end of the handle (with pole pointing out). Inside pole was held with arm up and at about 45 degrees with the wrist cocked and the pole at about 45 degrees vertically (as if the top of the handle was an ice cream cone and you were about to lick it). On the next run, a recognition of neutral was added where the poles where held both in front extending downward at about 45 degree angles like insect antennae. The key with neutral was that the pole handles needed to be close to knee height (and you had better have gotten there by flexing and not by bending over) at the point when the skis flattened. After appropriately recognizing neutral (because it's rude to pass neutral on the street and not say "hi"), proceed as before.

Somewhere in the middle of this there was a comic interlude where Jay demonstrated the perils of inclination and sacrificed his body so the rest of us could have a visual on why skiers who are of less than world class athletic ability are best served to skip inclination and proceed directly to counter balancing. Unlike CB, there is no balance in inclination...

Final permutation of pole games involved dragging the inside pole in a vertical position and pushing forward on the handle, while boot touching the outside pole (and recognizing neutral as previously described). Like everything else, this forced CB. After a run of this, the pole drag was tweaked to dragging in a circular motion to force CA. Ultimately, we were encouraged to drag the inside pole for balance as needed.

I think we made a few runs doing this drill, but all I know is that at some point, I made one GS turn too many and Jay brought us all up short. "We're going to have a contest," he said. Without waiting for him to explain, I interrupted and continued: "We are going to have a short turn contest and I will be buying beers for anyone who can make more turns than me in the allotted space." Fortunately, I did not completely suck at this. I was middle of the road for the first section, and in the last section, I made more turns than anyone and tied Jay. Some of my turns may have even resembled good PMTS technique. In any event, as they say over on the TGR forum, I "got 'er done." Seems like I did owe a few beers tonight, but none of my group was letting me buy. Even when I reminded them that the only reason we were doing short turns at all was because of my not infrequent lapses. Good guys, all, in Jay's group.

By the end of the infamous short turn contest, we were nearing the end of the day. As a reward for spending the majority of another day bent over like a bunch of fraternity pledges, Jay gave us a couple of runs to "just ski." Of course, "just skiing" still involved focusing on one area of improvement--which I guess was a nice change from two or three :D As far as I can tell, that was the only difference from "on the record runs" since apparently in Jay's world "just skiing" still means we have to explain our crappy technique at the bottom :D Truthfully, I do enough "just skiing" on my own, so like the rest of my group, I was pleased to get the extra instruction.

Speaking of trying to juggle three different movements in your head, I just remembered one really cool thing we learned at lunch. What Jay suggested was that once you get done learning movements in isolation, you then need to come up with ways to stick the movements together into uber movements. The cannonical example was taking flexing, lightening and tipping, and converting it to: touch the base of my ski to the boot.

One other thing I just remembered from the counter balancing marathon. When evaluating the goodness or badness of movements, Jay uses two criteria. First, he looks at the effect that the movement has on the performance of the ski.
Then he looks at the effect of the movement on the balance of the skier. Actually, this isn't my memory; one of the guys in my group reminded me of this over beers and I wrote it down on a cocktail napkin. Hopefully I've got it right, but where beers are involved...

So what did I learn today (besides needing a bazillion more turns to recover my skiing self-respect)? Really, flexion/extension timing is a biggie for me. Turns at the end of the day were getting better, but I don't own this yet. Meanwhile, I'm more convinced that my boot setup is not ideal from a fore-aft perspective and this is having a real effect on my skiing. One of the things Jay called me out on (which I knew) is that I have a slight extension involved with my recentering move. Balance for me is tenuous when I flex beyond a 2 on the Jay scale. Extension to recenter, lack of flexion to begin with, and a very arms forward position with a break at the waist (with my backside sticking out) are all effects of this. Bob Hintermeister grabbed Jay at the end of the day to discuss this with him. He'd noticed I was in the back seat a lot today (which was true and was a consequence of me growing range of motion on flexing and tipping) and apparently he has some similar issues with anatomy that affect fore-aft and wanted to offer some insight. I'm starting to notice a disturbing pattern-btw-apparently I'm a walking demonstration of every problem every instructor here has ever had :D . Anyway, Bob's comments got me thinking about how I ski and why and I'm very convinced I need to improve my setup. Unfortunately, according to the good Doctor, the fore-aft piece isn't well understood. I'm going to try tucking the power strap of my boot completely under the plastic (thought I was doing this already, but I was catching a piece). Other than that, maybe I need to soften the boot. Bob solved his problem by adding a heel shim. Not sure that will work for me since I don't want more foward lean. Hopefully I can engage the brain-trust in Dumont to make some headway. Then again, we'll see where I'm at after we try to re-introduce recentering back into my skiing Ski Synergy style. He's got three more hours to rebuild Humpty Dumpty, before we play musical instructors.

In other news, the guys in my group have really been making some good changes with their skiing. Some good turns are being made and its been fun to watch. PMTS in action baby!
Last edited by geoffda on Thu Jan 07, 2010 7:19 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Super Blue!

Postby jbotti » Tue Jan 05, 2010 10:17 pm

The only real question is how on earth are you finding the energy to write this stuff in the evening after a full day of camp. And you are not sending us a paragraph, but a full chapter each day. I can say that I am very impressed!!!
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Re: Super Blue!

Postby geoffda » Wed Jan 06, 2010 7:16 am

jbotti wrote:The only real question is how on earth are you finding the energy to write this stuff in the evening after a full day of camp. And you are not sending us a paragraph, but a full chapter each day. I can say that I am very impressed!!!

Well, if I don't write it down right away, there is a chance I'll lose it. Since I've got to do that for me anyway, I figured I might as well share what I've learned and hopefully provide a good account that will demonstrate to anyone who doesn't already know just how extra freaking cool PMTS camp is.
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Re: Super Blue!

Postby skimore » Wed Jan 06, 2010 11:00 am

Wow! My mind is boggled by your ability to remember each day in such detail... even the run names! I really appreciate your doing this.

I attended the same camp last year and found myself equally overwhelmed, but also unable to do much more than to crawl into bed at the end of each information-packed day with my head spinning. I'm going to the blue/dark blue camp at Sol Vista in February and had already told myself that I need to bring along a notepad and pen to jot down the exercises and my impressions during the day so that I am able to remember them better.

I understand your struggle with everything seeming to fall apart in your skiing as you attempt to change what you are doing. I usually find that it takes some time skiing alone to really be able to assimilate the new movements. As long as you are open to making the changes, and clearly you are, you will be able to incorporate them into your skiing. My daily reminder to myself during camp was to be humble and open to new information at all times. It is definitely harder to break old patterns that have (more or less) been working for you than to start as a beginner with no preconceived ways of doing things.

I look forward to reading the rest of the saga, though if you find yourself unable to keep doing it I will totally understand that, too.

Thanks again!!
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Re: Super Blue!

Postby geoffda » Wed Jan 06, 2010 7:56 pm

Day 3 dawned warmer and cloudy. Temperature in the high 20s so I'm finally going to get to wear gloves instead of mittens--yeah! Meanwhile, I can't see Grays & Torres and the top of The Basin is enshrouded in clouds so it is clear that conditions are going to be interesting. By the time I arrive at the mountain, it is snowing heavily and the snow will last all day.

Today is our last day with Jay as we switch instructors tomorrow. It is also a half day of instruction, but once again, Jay is generous with his time. The theme of the day turns out to be Releases. But first we have some video to watch from the day before. My footage is pretty good. I'm still having issues with flex timing--mostly because my stance leg is collapsing at the bottom of the turn and I'm losing my energy. For whatever reason, these slow short turns are killing me, but mixed in with some bad turns are some good turns. In fact, more turns are good than bad. In spite of the fact that I'm still feeling a bit lost, video is actually proving my skiing to be better than my own impressions and I'm seeing some progress.

After a leisurely session of video, we head out into the blizzard and up the mountain. Thankfully, Jay shows no interest in heading to the very top and we take our warmup run down High Noon. Again, we try and focus on one thing while we are warming up. For me it is flexion/extension timing as usual and my warmup goes decently.

Back at the top of Exhibition, Jay introduces what might be my new favorite drill: Robo-Tipping. Robo-tipping is best performed on extremely gentle terrain (it works really well if you have to pole to propel yourself) and it is described by the following mantra: Stick (it), Match (it), Manage (it). So first, you Stick the ski corresponding to the direction you want to turn on its little toe edge. The idea is to do this with weight on the ski being tipped so that it side loads--which gets you grip. Once you have a nice big O-frame, you tip the stance foot to Match the angle you set with the free foot. Finally you Manage by transferring weight to the stance foot and standing up on that ski.

We worked robo-tipping on the top flat section of High Noon and then stopped at the first roll-over. At this point Jay introduced the weighted release (which wasn't a surprise because robo-tipping is a form of weighted release) and we proceeded to rocket down the remainder of the run. As an added bonus, nobody got on me about my GS arcs with this drill and I thoroughly enjoyed the ride down. Between this drill and robo-tipping, it became very apparent that the weighted release is the money release for high performance skiing. I asked Jay about this and he confirmed that he uses it a lot.

Back up to the top of Exhibition, we did another round of robo-tipping in the flats and then stopped at the top of Ramrod where Jay introduced the two-footed release. The key concept here was to use flexion of the old stance leg to start the release (flexion == flattening). As long as you were forward, this would cause your skis to smoothly seek the fall-line. The greater the degree of flexing the stance leg, the faster the skis would seek the fall line. This behavior grants choices when it comes to turn shape as you can vary the flexing and tipping combinations according to your needs.

Since we were linking TFRs, the other concept was to finish the turn standing (and drifting) on the LTE of the old free foot. Doing this got the balance transfer out of the way early to facilitate flexing the old stance leg to flatten and release in order to start the next turn. To get used to this, Jay had us do some side-slip garlands. Facing across the slope, we would flex to flatten and start forward side slipping. Then we would stick, match, and manage ("tipping is tall") and finally transfer balance to the LTE, repeating until we reached the opposite side of the slope.

On the next trip back up, Jay introduced a drill that Martin (one of the guys in my group) had specifically requested. This drill was first done statically. The idea was to lift and tip a ski, touching it to the boot at about Phantom Move height. Then the goal was to flex the stance leg enough to touch the tipped ski to the snow. Once we mastered this standing still, motion was added. Effectively this turned into the Super Phantom, but the proactive flexing overloaded my brain & I struggled a bit with this. At the top of Ramrod, this drill morphed into the one-footed release, at which point it suddenly occured to me that the Super Phantom itself, is actually linked OFRs. In any event, as with TFR's the real key to this drill was flexing the stance ski, which caused it to flatten and seek the fall line. I suppose in a OFR as described in ABCBAES2, you aren't ever supposed to let the free foot touch the ground, but in any event, the releases themselves that we were doing consisted of weight entirely on the stance foot.

After that, we went back up for a round of video on Ramrod. For the first section we did slow, linked TFRs and for the second section, we were to abandon the slip and rock the engagement of the new edges. I never saw the footage of the first section, but Jay's only comment after my run was to "keep doing what you are doing" so I must have been doing something right. For the second section, Jay unleashed the hounds and started rocking turns as he skied down to his shooting spot. I foolishly tried to match this and ended up with GS turns instead of short turns, but my flexion was ON. It had to be since I was flying and as Jay put it later, I was totally sucking (it up, that is).

After video, we went back up for one final run before lunch. Jay decided that as a reward, we could rock it, but with a caveat. We would all follow him. Although he asked who would "like to be first in line," he was staring at me when he said this, so I got the feeling I was being "volunteered." For the first part of the run down upper High Noon (which is flat) Jay just made GS arcs which I had no trouble following. Unfortunately, this was the only bone I was going to get because when we switched over to Ramrod and the slope rolled over, he switched over to his bullet-proof-short-turns which are very cranked. Needless to say, I did not last long on that bronco, and it was all I could do simply to stay behind him and not run him over. I don't think I managed to come out of a crouch for the entire second half of the run and my quads were uncharacteristically burning by the time we hit the bottom. I am not worthy!

After "follow me" it was time for lunch and some more great ski theory conversations. Some highlights: first, while watching video, I had commented that getting edge is like getting a girlfriend. When you look for it, it won't happen. It is only when you stop looking for edges or girlfriends that you are likely to get either. Of course, Jay had a much better girlfriend metaphor. It turns out that bad turns are like bad girl friends. The sooner you get rid of a bad turn (by bailing down the fallline--and this is especially true in bumps) or a bad girl friend, the better off you will be. You have to get rid of it (the girlfriend or the turn) sooner or later and nothing good can come of hanging on. Just move on to something better.

The other thing we discussed was a rehash of speed control with his BPST. The idea is to hammer the top half of the arc and get speed control from that. The bottom of the arc just involves quickly releasing to get on top of the next turn. This applies in bumps as well (we discussed this back on day 1, but I can't remember if I documented it). Anyway, you want to carve the top half of the bump and then release to catch the top half of the next bump. This can be done in a zipper line (I had some success with this back on day 1) and the benefit is that you skip the nasty back of the bump which is messed up from everyone else scraping down (which also tends to pile up good snow on the front side where you are carving).

So that about closes the book on our time with Jay. He did a fantastic job, we all had fun, learned a ton and made headway on our goals, and we saw some significant improvements in the skiing of members in our group.

By the time we finished with video there was still about an hour and a half of skiable day yet, so three of our group headed back out for more turns in the accumulating new snow. For the first run I let myself get talked into heading up to the top, but the whiteout was severe and we promptly fled back to the lower mountain. Heading down to the bottom, we took a spin down the bumps of upper Exhibition. It felt good to apply some tipping to catch the top half of the bumps and I made a very comfortable run at speed. Martin failed to follow the exit cat-track and veered down the gulley so I dropped in after him. PMTS bump technique was really shining there. Not much room and a whole lot of rocks. You either kept it under control, or you were owned. Needless to say, PMTS students do not get owned. Though I must admit that I ended up sprawled in the snow when I tried to duck the rope to skip the last turn (which involved a large rock) and instead smacked into a burried stump.

After that, we decided to head back to the groomers which were starting to sport a few inches of accumulation (and not a few residual icy patches underneath). On that first run down Ramrod, something clicked and I started magically generating Jay-like cranked short turns. I was getting the "whoosh." Getting grip and then tipping like a madman to generate giant ski angles and "whooshing" through the rest of the turn. Sadly, I could not repeat the sensation. I started the following run fast trying to repeat my gains, but instead of getting controlled cranking, I just ended up ricocheting down the fallline. I'm sure other PMTS students who witnessed this performance were left shaking their heads.

For a while after that I continued to try to reproduce whatever it was that I'd done, but I couldn't seem to do any better than my new and improved GS turns. Eventually, I gave up and slowed it down somewhat--enough to revert to genuine short turns. We kept it going until the bell.

Seems to still be snowing pretty hard, so maybe we'll have a powder day tomorrow. Not sure who we'll get for an instructor, but my group has already decided that if its a deep day our plan will be to hone our two-footed releases in the deepest stuff we can find for as long as it lasts :D

Time to go tune my skis...
Last edited by geoffda on Thu Jan 07, 2010 7:42 am, edited 6 times in total.
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Re: Super Blue!

Postby dbntina » Wed Jan 06, 2010 8:16 pm

Thanks for posting geoffda, I really enjoy reading your posts of camp it is very enlightening and helpful to me.

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Re: Super Blue!

Postby ibMED » Thu Jan 07, 2010 8:05 am

Outstanding post about what goes on in Harb camp. Great mix of technical detail and I love your humor. It's work, but, it's fun too. Your post is a level of detail I've always wanted to read. We in the forum owe you big time.

I was on skis yesterday and I did the drills you described from the first day. Boot touches with tipping etc. I went to Essentials the night before and reread Harald's text and pics to get a clearer understanding of what's intended. I ski tomorrow and will do drills from your day 2.

You got to ski with SkierSynergy, forgive a minor rant about 2 days of skiing this week with a bud who is a level 1 PSIA instructor. My ski partner was a guy I've talked with about skiing but until this week had not skied with. After our second run, while on the chair, he asked if I would like some feedback about my skiing. So you should know by now, whether or not I wanted it, the feedback was coming.
The real truth is......
The concept of lifting and using the free foot is time consuming and inefficient. Keep that ski on the snow.
Keep you skis shoulder width, 60% of weight on the downhill ski 40% on the uphill ski.
Simply roll your skis from one side to another
World Cup skiers always ski with weight on both skis.
Rotation is out, except in bumps, balance and pressure work well.

If any one watches MSN's Keith Oberman, he does a "worst person in the world" gig at the end of the show. I felt that I awarded the "worst skiing in the world". He's going to check out HH with his PSIA buds and further enlighten me.

Other than the above, He is a good guy to ski with. End of Rant.

Geoff, I would have switched places with you in a heartbeat. I fully concur with your observation that you and I know may have thought we knew " a little" about skiing, and, now realize we know "little".
If you don't know where you're going, any ski turn will get you there!
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Re: Super Blue!

Postby dan.boisvert » Thu Jan 07, 2010 7:14 pm

Geoffda, thank you for taking the time to post these. As somebody new to PMTS, I've been trying to figure out how to go about pursuing it, given financial and time constraints. This thread has just about talked me into making time for a camp next year. By Friday's post, it might be a lock!
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Re: Super Blue!

Postby BigE » Thu Jan 07, 2010 7:22 pm


That's the way of the game -- misinformation that is misunderstood leading to misconceptions.

Blame it on his instructor, and up the ladder we go....
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