Confusion about different method of release

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Confusion about different method of release

Postby andy2667 » Thu Nov 16, 2017 10:39 pm

Hi all,

I am a 50 years old recreational skier who has skied around 10 years and has been doing 2~3 ski trips every years, one week each. It seems that here would be no hope for me to break through from the lower intermediate level until I discovered the PMTS.....Have tried to self learn PMTS in the past two skiing seasons. It was amazing! I got most of the materials from the Harb Ski System. DVDs, book, eVideos....

However, being self learning, there are always confusions/misunderstanding. Luckily, I found this forum which contains load of information about PMTS and have PMTS practioners to make clarifications.

I am confused about the various type of release stipulated in the materials I got and would be very much appreciated if you could give me some insights on this: One footed release, Two footed release, super Phentom move, flow during release. Are they best be applied under certain situation or can be used for all situation?

1. Two footed release/flow
- This is the easier to understand one quite similar to the fall line finds method added with Phentom move and all Counter balance counter acting....
- isn't flow is the same as letting the two skis flat for a very short while to let them flow to find the fall line? Same as the two footed release? Confused!
- I uses this whenever there are difficulties in applying the others: one footed release/ super phantom move.

2. One footed release
- I am confused about the difference between this release and the super phantom move.Both require early weight transfer with balance on LTE, then apply appropriate phantom move to engage. I think they are the same thing? Am I correct or I am mis interpreted some key elements of them?
- I will try to do Super Phentom move as far as I can but can only do this in easy slopes. Balancing on LTE in difficult/steep slopes for long is not easy. For those sifdicult slopes, I have to resume to two fitted release or flow.

Am I applying the different type of release in the right situation.

Your inputs will be very much appreciated.

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Re: Confusion about different method of release

Postby geoffda » Fri Nov 17, 2017 9:12 am

If you relax the stance foot, and bend or flex the stance leg while simultaneously inverting the stance foot to flatten the stance ski at the end of the turn, you will create a release. How you manage the transfer of balance to what will become the new stance foot determines whether you get a one footed, two footed, or weighted release.

If you immediately transfer all weight and balance to the little toe edge of the new stance foot (which is best learned by lifting the old stance foot), then you will have achieved a one footed release. You are correct in noting that this is the Super Phantom. Being able to ski with the Super Phantom is the defining characteristic of PMTS Blue level skiers as it is a necessary prerequisite for high level skiing.

If, instead of lifting the old stance foot, you keep some weight on it, while shifting balance to the new stance foot, then you will have achieved a two-footed release. Keep in mind a few things. First, there is still a moment of *balance* on the little toe edge of the new stance ski. Even though it isn't fully weighted, such a moment is necessary to provide the platform by which the old stance foot can be tipped. Without that moment of balance, the new stance foot may roll over first and you will end up with a brief wedge or stem entry, which is not ideal. Additionally, the tipping of the old stance foot (new free foot) must be active and must occur before the hips move into the new turn.

Finally, it is also possible to aggressively flex the old stance leg and tip it without having transferred any balance to the new stance leg. The turn can be initiated entirely on what will be the new free foot and the balance transfer and engagement of the new outside ski can be deferred until the new turn has already started. This is known as a weighted release.

So if you have been following along, difference between the releases is just a function of how much of a balance transfer occurs at the moment of release. You can have complete transfer (one-footed release), partial transfer (two-footed release), or no transfer (weighted-release). Which one you should use is generally instinctive and it depends on terrain and conditions. For example, two footed releases tend to work better in softer, deeper snow, when you need to have a two-ski platform underneath you to float. One footed releases may be more desirable when it is icy or on steeper terrain. Weighted releases often happen in bumps, or on the race course--often as a result of ending up in an unexpected body position. Being able to use any kind of release will make you a better skier.
Last edited by geoffda on Sat Nov 18, 2017 12:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Confusion about different method of release

Postby Max_501 » Fri Nov 17, 2017 10:09 am

Great post Geoff!

Found this old post:

Harald wrote:This post is in response to a number of questions that have come up on other threads, some are buried in deep, so I thought presenting this as a new topic would be more appropriate.

Weighted Release and Von Gruenegen Turns

PMTS ways, which are based on moving with most efficiency, are not derived from any one person?s skiing or one movement. Expert instructors use and teach movements and build on movements that create balance, and actions that create natural reactions. An efficient skiing system is built on the easiest way to:

- Move the body
- Stay in balance
- Define and expand edge awareness
- Use ski design


In this process, a skier has to develop knowledge and familiarity with and for all four edges of the skis.

A skier at some point in their development must be able to stand in balance on any edge at any time. A skier must be able to stand on both edges and vary the pressure on either edge or ski from one foot to the other to maintain balance and create movements to benefit every situation. Much of this is intuitive in naturally gifted skiers, but it can be learned and taught to skiers who come to the sport later in life.

If at the beginning of a turn I lean into the turn and pressure the inside ski with sixty percent of my balance and pressure, I will probably be over committed. As the turn develops I can readjust to balance needs and the forces as the radius changes. As the turn progresses I can come back to dominant balance on the outside ski and even become ninety percent pressured on that ski. I can even come back to one hundred percent of my weight on the outside ski at the most demanding part of the turn, to hold and carve an edge. This ability develops over decades of skiing. The sense of where the body and CG are relative to the skis is second nature. What do you call this, balance and anticipation of where balance should be and what you should do to achieve it? PMTS has evolved to include development of these abilities with varies exercise for intermediates and advanced skiers alike.

My publisher is pressing me for the new book; much of it will be devoted to these developments.

Movements for weighted release transition:

If I can finish a turn with balance and an angulated body with ninety percent of my pressure on the stance ski, I have many options, I can stay on the outside ski, bend, flex or collapse the stance leg and allow my Center of Gravity to travel into the new turn center, while still balancing on the old stance ski, which changes edges and becomes the inside ski. At this point, I can extend the outside leg and gain stance on it while I retract the inside leg. This makes and re-establishes my balance and stance leg, the outside ski. This is a weighted release or Von Gruenegen Turn, depending on how much force or speed is involved.

The release of the stance leg snaps the body into the next turn. The skis come very quickly off their edges during this phase. If the skier has strength enough to hold the body over the releasing old stance leg, while bending the stance leg the whole body will pendulum over the lower stance leg and become inclined for the new turn. If this is done quickly and the old stance leg stays the stance leg during the transition and the beginning of the turn, you have a weighted release or Von Greunegen.

Phantom Move transition:

I can also change the release to transfer balance to the new ski and little toe edge, before the edge change. This involves keeping contact and tipping at the end of the turn. The little toe edge of the inside ski must be tipped onto it's little toe out side edge. This is the inside ski and the edge of this ski is in the snow. The boot or foot on this ski must be back almost even with the outside ski (minimal lead of inside ski) , or balance will be difficult to achieve for the transition and beginning of the new turn.

Flex/bend the stance leg, quickly, to make it collapse or become shorter. This action transfers pressure and balance momentarily to the up hill little toe edge. I say momentarily because this ski which is now on the little toe edge, the newly weighted ski, will transition to its big toe edge side almost immediately. If I keep retracting the old stance leg, it will eventually become completely un-pressured. The options of turn entry using slight pressure variations from one foot to the other, with these movements are virtually limitless.

Balance First:

In an efficient skiing system the student is introduced to many of these options only after they have practiced and achieved one footed balance with skiing exercises, comprised of standing on single edges. This type of skiing and ski teaching offers the student a true sense of what is required to evolve as a skier. The student soon realizes that balance and some strength to support balance is necessary.

This approach to "Balance First" also gives the expert well trained instructor many opportunities to evaluate a student's alignment and ski boot performance.
If you are skiing with an instructor who doesn't do this, and your motivation is to become a better skier, you might do better by asking for an instructor with alignment training. Alignment evaluation with instruction can change your skiing immediately. Instructors who still think they are effective without alignment understanding and its ability to transform skiers are limiting their upside opportunities regarding satisfying clients.

If an instructor is not motivated to provide the best product and get with the training that produces the best product, he will only be successful when he has excellant students, with perfect alignment. That leaves me out.

I am relating this based on the standards we set and follow at Harb Ski Systems. Regular ski instruction has not identified needs for this level of instruction. Maybe they believe there are not enough skiers who want or deserve this level of competence. Ott, I know I'll here from you again about bus loads of students with 1 hour lessons. Fortunately that's not the whole world of skiing. There are over ten million skier visits in Colorado alone every year. High end instruction is a multi million dollar business, so should it improve? Be better?

Why do we stay the same?

I find skiers who have plateaued, sometimes don't realize it isn't due to lack of movement, talent or knowledge, it is often due to lack of strength in certain muscle groups. One such muscle group is the hip flexors, especially important, as they keep the torso stable and balanced in one leg balance, as do the abdominals and erector spinae muscles. These muscles are all involved in the rowing activity that is popular at many gyms. We have seen more success with this exercise than with solely concentrating on quads and leg muscles.

The quads are part of this equation, but usually not the limiting muscle group. There is much talk about core strength these days and I'm not sure people really understand it. The core ranges from the upper thigh to the area below the shoulder blades and chest. Both front and back of the body are involved. The core must be able to hold you from collapsing under load. It also makes adjustments to foot balancing activity. If there isn't sufficient strength or range of motion in the core, the upper body can become a liability in a hurry. It will have the tendency to rotate, over flex, lean and become stiff, when it is weak. In addition, if the skier is over weight or out of shape generally, their skiing will plateau at some point sooner, than later. These physical limitations don't exclude people from skiing, but they will exclude skiers from becoming advanced all mountain skiers.

Body and foot activity:

If one is to be able to use the weighted release effectively, balance, pressure and increasing edge angles must be actively developed through the turn. Skiers often either give up or cease to actively increase tipping as the turn develops.
Without this you can learn a mechanically correct weighted release, but the effortless weighted release, the one that uses the natural forces and energy from the turn and mountain will elude you.

Skiers seem too often satisfied by the angles and balance they develop initially and let the turn ride. A sign of a truly expert skier is one that can tighten the radius of the arc at the bottom. This requires mid body relaxation and articulation. (See the "Holding on ice" post) As the forces build, the muscle rebound response, which is part of coordinating release timing, needs to be situated and pronounced. I am referring to the stretching and rebound of muscles on the inside of the body (the side inside the turn). This is achieved with angulation and inclination. It corresponds to early instruction in PMTS, the tipping phases, where we say, "Begin tipping at the start of the turn, increase it through the turn and get the most at the end of the turn." This must include the mid and upper body tipping at the higher levels of skiing.

Racers can do this a forty miles per hour. At slower speeds intermediates and advanced skiers can learn to do a weighted release by following a progression of little toe edge balance and little toe edge turning. The little toe edge turning and balancing progressions are demonstrated in the Expert 2 video and the PMTS Instructor Manual.

Since it sounds like the Weighted Release is a very technical and demanding move, there better be benefits. First, is it worth learning the WR before you are carving, balancing and edging aggressively? Yes, as the confidence of knowing that you can stand on the outside edge in transition is invaluable. This may be a process for many skiers, a process that could take two seasons of dedication on and off the snow.

Harald wrote:I hope this provides some answers to the what, where and why the weighted release is important.

Skiing has to be built, the approach fundamentally is systematic, and this doesn't mean it has to be predicable or linear. The teaching topics or tracks can change focus from one corresponding learning track to another, depending on a skier's strengths and weaknesses. It can become very complicated if you don't know where to go with the instruction. Building an expert skier can be very intricate.

An instructor must be able to read your learning ability and where the weakest link exists. If you continue on a track or development of capabilities to the exclusion of other capabilities and your instructor doesn't recognize they are missing, you will be spending a lot of time headed in the wrong direction.

You have to know what you want and the instructor has to be able to tell you how he is going to get you there. Many instructors don't ask what the skier wants, they just go ahead. That is the safe way. Follow the system, do what you are supposed to do for that level of skier. There is a pat lesson for every situation, but it may not be the one you want or need. It is risky for the instructor to ask a skier what they want, because if you don't have the answers, you will probably be found out.

That being said, any movement group whether it be tipping, balancing, bending, one edge balance or railed turns on two skis, requires certain capabilities or abilities. In releasing for example, the Super Phantom is on the far end of the releasing spectrum, the weighted release is on the other end. In between, is a mixture of weighting options with two footed fifty-fifty smack in the middle. I would not teach one end of the spectrum exclusively to any skiers or for any terrain or skiing surface. That approach limits skier development. As early as possible I introduce balancing on all four edges. The skier then has more abilities to develop turns, movements and intuitive learning. The skier then realizes that not every turn is made with the same movement and has many more options and can become versatile on their own when just out skiing for fun.

I am not trying to defend JC, but he maybe approaching what he thinks is the most important capability for his student first and then work in the versatility part later. You maybe seeing only part of his program when you comment about his focus being solely the Super Phantom in the bumps. In Harb Ski Systems we do not offer a Bump only camp. We offer the All Mountain Camps, which require that a skier be versatile and well rounded.

The reason for the Weighted Release "stems" from, no pun intended, the need for basic tools to rid skiers of habitual movements. We teach skiers from all over the world and they come with varied skiing backgrounds and have followed many different systems. One of movements that skiers develop through skiing systems is the big toe edge engagement with the universal and pervasive push-off from the old downhill big toe edge. You can eliminate that movement pattern immediately, by teaching a weighted release. The skier no longer has the edge to push from, as they are bending the very leg and flattening the very ski they used to use to extend and push.

Skiers who are in this state are afraid to move the Cg into the turn, so they move it up the hill. This may not be the intent of traditional teaching, but it is what skiers end up with in their skiing. As you all know we don't teach that way, so we never deal with the problem with PMTS developed skiers, only with skiers who started and dedicated themselves to TTS, which happens to be ninety percent of our clients. A skier that can learn the weighted release can then easily move to the two footed release. Now such a skier has all ends of the spectrum in place. A bump skier without the bending and tipping ability of the weighted release will do what in a panic? He will stem and steer because that is the ingrained default movement. If you watch any expert bump skier or crud skier you will see, turns of every variety especially the faster and steeper the situation.
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Re: Confusion about different method of release

Postby geezer skier » Fri Nov 17, 2017 1:48 pm

Two very good explanations! :D
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Re: Confusion about different method of release

Postby andy2667 » Fri Nov 17, 2017 7:30 pm

Thanks Geoff and Max. for the excellent explanation and posts. Now am more clear about the "Release Methods".

Fully agree that we need to balance on all 4 edges. In the past two skiing seasons, I have spent some time in practicing balancing on "4 Edges" in very flat terrains for Super Phantom move. Those practices are fun and useful for getting improvement. Not yet in the level of trying weighted release but may try it in the coming skiing trips.

Thanks all for the inputs.

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