Is PMTS for me?

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Is PMTS for me?

Postby lehrski » Thu Feb 22, 2018 12:40 am

I've been lurking in these forums for a while and finally bought "Anyone can be an expert skier 1". I think I want to improve my skiing - to be smoother in icy moguls, to ski crud well and to do more than survival skiing in steep, rocky chutes. I'm not sure whether PMTS is the right direction for me. My concern is that the focus on drills will take away from the sheer joy of skiing - flying through untracked powder, standing on top of a chute with views of range after range of mountains, weaving through tight glades with no sounds but my skis and those of friends. Maybe I'm not understanding this correctly, but with PMTS there seems to be an end goal of skiing perfectly rather than having good skiing as a means. I understand that strong technique translates to any terrain under any conditions, but how do you work on technique without losing the ecstasy of skiing?
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Re: Is PMTS for me?

Postby go_large_or_go_home » Thu Feb 22, 2018 1:46 am

Been there.....
However, once you embark on this journey, you won’t look back...caution - you need to get your alignment checked and fixed ASAP....

If you apply yourself, your skiing will far exceed any of your expectations...as your skiing gets stronger you will even find joy skiing on cat tracks..your whole approach to skiing will change....like you, i was firmly in the ‘go large or go home’ camp - hence the name...no longer....i have become a technician - finally realising that if i can perfect my skiing on blue runs, i can glide down steep chutes, back country etc etc....

Note: if you jump in, you have to commit..your friends won’t believe the improvement in your skiing....
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Re: Is PMTS for me?

Postby skijim13 » Thu Feb 22, 2018 8:35 am

Once you start to learn PMTS you will ski in more control and enjoy making turns. However, you will find out that your friends ski to fast since they have no speed control and you may no longer ski together as your skills improve.
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Re: Is PMTS for me?

Postby DougD » Thu Feb 22, 2018 8:38 am

Hi and welcome to the forum! That's a great question, which might have a different answer for each of us (including you of course).

FWIW... I skied for ~30 years before starting PMTS... backcountry, sidecountry, bumps, trees, gnarly stuff with friends. I loved every minute of that and still do. PMTS doesn't interfere, it provides another dimension that adds to the joy. Remember when you first learned to ski? The thrill of getting better and better, every single day on the slopes? PMTS provides that thrill, the thrill of constant improvement, no matter what level you're at.

+1 to GLOG's alignment comment. I skied for those 30 years with minor but chronic pain in my R knee, due to an old (non-skiing) injury. No ski shop, bootfitter or instructor was ever able to help... or even see that there was a problem. My fitter at HSS spotted the injury the instant I walked into the shop, without any hint from me, just by watching me walk (no, there's no limp). They fixed it permanently (for skiing purposes) in just 45 minutes. If I'd visited them 10... 20... 30... years earlier, how much less pain, how much less follow-on damage? Further, the effect on my skiing balance was instant and profound.

My concern is that the focus on drills will take away from the sheer joy of skiing ...

It's funny about drills. After spending decades skiing the steepest, gnarliest, nastiest trails and snow I could find, I thought drilling on green groomers would be the definition of boredom. I couldn't have been more wrong. PMTS drills are amazing!!! They help you achieve balance and movements that you'd never imagined possible. I begin every ski day with drills chosen for whatever I need to work on... and I love doing them. If I execute a drill well, the thrill is much greater than stumbling down a tough bump run or couloir on the edge of control... because in the drill I did something right and improved. Further, that improvement carries over to the tough stuff. After a couple successful drill runs, I reward myself with a challenging trail or two... and invariably ski it better than I would have without the drills. After a morning of successful drills, skiing a tough bump run feels like skiing in slow motion. My balance, movements and timing are so dialed in that the bumps can't upset them. It's almost eerie being in complete control on a trail that would have had me bouncing from one ugly skid to another just a year or two ago.

At camp you're coached by a former WC racer/present WC coach, plus other coaches of near similar abilities. A coach asks you to do the simplest (seeming) thing. They demo it perfectly and make it look easy. You think, "I'm a good skier, I can do that." And then you fail... badly... and discover just how inept a skier you actually are. They tear your (inefficient) skiing apart and give you the tools to rebuild it with efficient movements that work in every condition, every kind of snow, every degree of steepness. It's hard, very hard, to admit that the advanced/expert skier you thought you were is in fact a rank novice. But once you accept the obvious and put ego aside, the doorway is open to becoming a better skier than you ever imagined.

... and that matters. Some years ago I was skiing Tuckerman Ravine with two friends. It was a bad conditions day and we were the only three skiers there. They both fell and slid 500-800vf, narrowly avoiding serious injury. I was the only one who actually skied that chute on that day... because I owned enough effective movements to manage conditions that they couldn't. I also retrieved their scattered gear on the way down, so they owed me two pairs of skis, poles and assorted gloves, goggles, etc. I settled for a couple of beers and their acknowledgement that skiing better is actually pretty cool. (P.S. They were early 30s and I was mid-50s, which was also pretty cool!)
Last edited by DougD on Thu Feb 22, 2018 9:14 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Is PMTS for me?

Postby Max_501 » Thu Feb 22, 2018 8:41 am

skijim13 wrote:However, you will find out that your friends ski to fast since they have no speed control and you may no longer ski together as your skills improve.


Depends on the skier and the group you ski with. I went from being one of the slowest to one of the fastest.
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Re: Is PMTS for me?

Postby DougD » Thu Feb 22, 2018 8:44 am

Max_501 wrote:
skijim13 wrote:However, you will find out that your friends ski to fast since they have no speed control and you may no longer ski together as your skills improve.


Depends on the skier and the group you ski with. I went from being one of the slowest to one of the fastest.

+1
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Re: Is PMTS for me?

Postby HeluvaSkier » Thu Feb 22, 2018 10:37 am

lehrski,

When I started with PMTS training (2005) I had every reason not to do it. By TTS standards I was already a very good skier. I had a race background with some local and regional success, had just finished racing competitively, I could get down anything on any mountain in any condition and I was known within the social circles of racers and coaches I kept as one of the strongest and most knowledgeable technical skiers—by traditional teaching standards (PSIA and USSA).

I realized however, that after racing, I had not actually learned anything about how to ski. I relied on a fair amount of natural talent and athleticism combined with watching a mimicking skiers who I thought were good skiers. The coaching I had received was all over the place in terms of advice, and it never really helped me improve the fundamentals of my skiing. I still however, had a desire to be a better skier and better coach, and didn’t have an outlet to achieve what I thought I should be able to achieve.

Enter PMTS. My first few seasons were tough. I went back to basics on green trails with only 4-6 runs per day on blue or black terrain. I took video nearly every day on both easy and difficult terrain. I studied my video against PMTS materials and models of good skiers who used PMTS movements. I completely tore down my once ‘good’ skiing and replaced it with slow turns on easy terrain. I stopped racing. I stopped skiing with the racers and coaches who once considered me a great skier… for the better part of 5 years I was out of the traditional teaching scene that I had once been part of.

Fast forward to now… Now I know what I didn’t know all those years ago. I am a great coach and an even better skier. The lens through which I view skiing is laser focused. I can ski on any terrain with a level of technical proficiency, speed and precision that not only will most skiers never achieve… many have not even witnessed before and didn't think was possible. When I do race now (just starting to dabble in it again), I’m never not on the podium… and the only masters racers to beat me have also won nationals (overall, not just age group). In terms of enjoyment, the ease at which I can make great turns in any conditions on any terrain has only made the sport more enjoyable for me… Beyond that, the coaching I can provide now, meaningfully improves others’ skiing which gives them more enjoyment as well.

My only regret is that I didn’t course correct earlier in my skiing career.
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Re: Is PMTS for me?

Postby geoffda » Thu Feb 22, 2018 7:55 pm

lehrski wrote:Maybe I'm not understanding this correctly, but with PMTS there seems to be an end goal of skiing perfectly rather than having good skiing as a means. I understand that strong technique translates to any terrain under any conditions, but how do you work on technique without losing the ecstasy of skiing?

You are asking the right question. The reasons that people ski are varied, but generally skiers can be divided up into those who view skiing as an activity to be enjoyed versus those who view skiing as a sport to be mastered. At the higher levels, PMTS appeals to those who do view good skiing as an end in and of itself and who are willing to make certain sacrifices in order to achieve their goals. Mastering the sport of skiing is very similar to mastering a musical instrument. It requires commitment, discipline, and lots of practice. Like mastering an instrument, the return on investment is enormous. The sensations afforded by high level skiing are indescribable. You want ecstasy? Learn how to ski.

For lower level skiers, it doesn't matter whether they view skiing as an activity or a sport because in either case PMTS will immediately give them more than they currently have. For skiers who can already navigate the entire mountain reasonably successfully, things are more problematic. Those skiers are generally in the position where they must effectively start over with their skiing. To be successful, they must confine themselves largely to green terrain at first, and then later to blue terrain in order to develop the new movements that they need to master. They must mostly give up skiing the whole mountain, usually for several seasons. Often this means ditching ski partners. The ones who do this and are successful are motivated to master the sport and view the short term sacrifices as being worth the end goal. Additionally, they quickly begin to understand that the feedback from a well executed turn is so great that enjoyment is dictated by the turn rather than terrain or snow conditions. Great musicians generally love to practice. Great skiers are no different. While the time they spend doing drills may vary (and they recognize that all worthwhile drills are still just skiing), they always ski with focus and they are always careful to spend most of their time on terrain which is conducive to improvement.

All of the skiers who have replied to this thread are highly motivated to become great skiers. For them whatever sacrifices they have made in their quest have been worth it. The other thing they have in common is that they enjoy the process of improvement. It is a completely different mindset from chasing terrain and snow, but for certain people it is equally compelling. Typically, if you have the motivation, changing your mindset won't be difficult. However, if you don't have the motivation, then PMTS may not be for you.
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Re: Is PMTS for me?

Postby Robert0325 » Fri Feb 23, 2018 10:03 am

geoffda wrote:For skiers who can already navigate the entire mountain reasonably successfully, things are more problematic. Those skiers are generally in the position where they must effectively start over with their skiing. To be successful, they must confine themselves largely to green terrain at first, and then later to blue terrain in order to develop the new movements that they need to master. They must mostly give up skiing the whole mountain, usually for several seasons. Often this means ditching ski partners.

This strikes a cord with me. I could definitely ski the whole mountain with a degree of success prior to discovering PMTS. I would say though I haven't been the model student. I spend about 50% of my time trying to do drills and the rest of the time having fun with friend skiing a lot of runs on the edge of my ability and yes probably undoing a lot of the good work accomplished with drills.

So for me it's a compromise, I want my cake and to eat it. I'm limited to only a couple of weeks on snow a year (not counting UK indoor skiing) so I'm never going to reap all the benefits of PMTS but even so dabbling in it is still better than not following it at all, at least it is for me.
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Re: Is PMTS for me?

Postby milesb » Sat Feb 24, 2018 9:52 pm

You may experience the dynamic where you want to ski very difficult terrain, but you know you don't have the skills to ski it using pmts movements, and you know that every hop turn you do works against your learning pmts. So you end up skiing something else. However, learning pmts has made my hop turns better, even though I never practice them! And I usually end up only doing 2 or 3 of them no matter what the terrain, before I settle into flexing and tipping. I still have a tendency to extend in large steep bumps, so I avoid those. Ymmv
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Re: Is PMTS for me?

Postby noobSkier » Sat Feb 24, 2018 10:58 pm

Its funny because just recently I was discussing this with a friend of mine. He was trying to convince me that for some people skiing is an "activity" and for others like myself, skiing is a sport. Well thats fine, but objectively which one is it? Activity or sport? To me the answer is clear: skiing is fundamentally a sport because the consequence of treating it as an activity yields objectively poor results. Your skiing performance is agnostic to your beliefs. So is PMTS for you? Well do you want to ski terribly? If you don't, then yes...PMTS is for you.
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Re: Is PMTS for me?

Postby h.harb » Sun Feb 25, 2018 10:05 am

What I've noticed is, sure some skiers can ski the whole mountain with their skidding techniques, but they don't have the skills to make connected caring turns, they get easily bored on groomers. In Colorado and in many other places now with global climate changes, you will be waiting most of the season until the whole mountain is worth skiing.
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Re: Is PMTS for me?

Postby geoffda » Sun Feb 25, 2018 10:45 am

noobSkier wrote:Its funny because just recently I was discussing this with a friend of mine. He was trying to convince me that for some people skiing is an "activity" and for others like myself, skiing is a sport. Well thats fine, but objectively which one is it? Activity or sport? To me the answer is clear: skiing is fundamentally a sport because the consequence of treating it as an activity yields objectively poor results. Your skiing performance is agnostic to your beliefs. So is PMTS for you? Well do you want to ski terribly? If you don't, then yes...PMTS is for you.

You aren't asking the right question. Nobody would answer "do you want to ski terribly" in the affirmative. The question isn't whether people want to ski better, the question is whether they are willing to invest the time and effort necessary make that happen. Very few skiers have your motivation to improve and, provided that their lack of ability doesn't make them a danger to themselves and others, there is nothing wrong with that. Most skiers just like getting out and sliding around with their friends and they don't care that they lack good technique. In order for PMTS to be "for" someone, they have to have some motivation that can be fulfilled by PMTS. Additionally, that motivation has to be strong enough to account for the work that will be required to achieve whatever the goal is. When it comes to experienced skiers, the perception of the work required to fulfill the motivation is often far less than reality. They often think that they are on a linear path; i.e, "I'm an advanced skier, therefore I must just need to get a little better to become an expert." Once they realize what is actually required to improve from where they are at, they often decide that it isn't worth it. Again, there is nothing wrong with that. Certainly, those of us have achieved a high level of PMTS skiing would say that those skiers will be missing out (and we are right), but that is their choice.
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Re: Is PMTS for me?

Postby dan.boisvert » Sun Feb 25, 2018 11:18 am

lehrski wrote:I understand that strong technique translates to any terrain under any conditions, but how do you work on technique without losing the ecstasy of skiing?


I can identify with this question. I think the forum here attracts a lot of people who take their skiing improvement really seriously, and gives a bit of a skewed impression of the PMTS community. If your goal is to become an excellent PMTS skier, following the recommendations here as diligently as suggested is the most efficient way to do it. If you're like me and go crazy if you don't let your skis run on a semi-regular basis, you can still improve a ton; it's just slower because you're reinforcing your old movements in trade for the fun you get from that more challenging terrain or higher speeds. This isn't any different from time spent training vs playing at anything you're trying to improve at.

After each camp I've attended, I've been able to ski the terrain I like better than I was before the camp. It's not like getting into PMTS requires a 5 year moratorium on fun, or you have to wait a decade to see an appreciable difference in your skiing or something. I didn't give up skiing interesting terrain, and video confirms I've gotten progressively better with each camp I've attended. You don't have to make the perfect the enemy of the good; you can just work on your skiing as time/motivation permits, and do whatever you want the rest of the time. As you see the benefit you get from the drills, you can dial up/down the time you invest to suit your goals/mood. I'd suggest investing as much time as you can while keeping it fun, and seeing what happens. Can't hurt to try, right?
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Re: Is PMTS for me?

Postby noobSkier » Sun Feb 25, 2018 11:38 am

geoffda wrote:Nobody would answer "do you want to ski terribly" in the affirmative.


Geoffda, I respect your opinion and you make valid points! I never said that skiing terribly is somehow deplorable, I'm just saying that its the result of not putting in the work; its important to acknowledge that. Heck, I do many things terribly...but maybe not terribly enough to actually take some steps towards improvement...in other words, I can tolerate my incompetence. Now, with skiing it was different because after having seen my first video, I realized that my level of incompetence was way above what I could tolerate, and to be honest...thats a pretty powerful motivator. So elaborating on my first post a little, I would suggest OP to take some video of his/her skiing and then see how that factors in towards their motivation to improve.
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