Real skiers read books!

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Real skiers read books!

Postby Baja1 » Fri Jan 01, 2010 6:23 pm

Happy New Year, everyone.

So, I get to the local mountain early this morning to try and beat the crowds. I go into the lodge, buy a cup of coffee, and make my way over to my table. I squeeeeeeeeeeeeze into my shiny new Raptor 130's (man, those ain't no bedroom slippers), take a sip of coffee, look at my watch, and realize I have half an hour before the lifts open.

So I do what any die hard real skier does. I take my copy of Essentials out of my bag, flip it open, and try to get my brain ready for a morning focused on fore/aft drills. :D

A few minutes go by, and a nice older gentleman walks up beside me, looks over my shoulder, and says, "Hi there. I'd be happy to take one run with you this morning, if you would like. I can meet you by the lift in 30 minutes."

He's wearing an instructor's jacket.

"You want to take one run with me?" I ask. I'm assuming this is another SS trainer looking to recruit instructors. :? I was approached a few times last year. So my attitude is less than enthusiastic, given what I've seen their instructors teaching in their lessons.

"Sure," he says. "I noticed you reading that book. I would be more than happy to ski one run with you. It's complimentary."

Now I get it. He's trying to drum up business. And here I am. An obvious skiing novice reading a book. A book on how to ski. Wearing bright red Raptors with "RACING" emblazoned on every buckle, band and flap. Trying to teach myself to ski from a book. A book with one hilarious picture of a guy bent over on his skis in a tuck with another guy pushing on his head.

"Are you an instructor?" I ask.

"Yes sir!" he says.

"Yeah... I used to be a ski instructor many moons ago," I say.

He gives me a confused look, then looks down at the book I'm reading. Then looks at me again, still confused. "So.... why the book?" he asks.

"See this guy on the cover?" I ask. "That's Harald Harb... a former PSIA Demo Team member."

"Uh-huh," he says, obviously not recognizing the name.

"He's not with PSIA anymore," I say. "His technique is years ahead of them. So, I'm just doing a little mental prep work before I work on dialing in my balance this morning. That's what this book is for -- how to tap into the pinnacle of high level ski technique. This guy Harald's methods have transformed my skiing."

"Oh," he says. "You really don't need a lesson, do you..."

"Mmmmmm.... nope, sorry. But have a great day and a Happy New Year! Thanks for stopping over."


I realize right afterward that I should have just taken him up on his offer and skied a run with him. It would have given me a little more time to talk PMTS, and show him how much better it is than what he and his colleagues are doing. Maybe it would have sparked some interest. Ah well --- learning experience. I'll try it again this year when I go there.


So thank you again, Harald, for helping me recover from former PSIA frustration and technique abuse. Clean ski technique is so liberating to an avid student of skiing, and I hope I can help more people discover it for themselves.

Have a great 2010, everyone!
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Re: Real skiers read books!

Postby h.harb » Fri Jan 01, 2010 6:36 pm

Great post, thank you for the story. You managed to thwart a PSIA attack by welding the book. "Essentials of Skiing" the book, in addition to providing wonderful skiing solutions, also provides protection.
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Re: Real skiers read books!

Postby BigE » Fri Jan 01, 2010 7:42 pm

Baja1, as soon as you would've said, "pull the inside foot back" you'd have lost them.

There is no point. It's not subterfuge.

BTW: I've been working on pulling the foot back for a couple days. It's far more than a corrective fore/aft balance tool.
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Re: Real skiers read books!

Postby Baja1 » Sat Jan 02, 2010 8:32 am

h.harb wrote: "Essentials of Skiing" the book, in addition to providing wonderful skiing solutions, also provides protection.


Does that mean a hard cover version is in the works? THAT would provide protection against the PSIA axis of evil. :wink:

Speaking of protection... later in the morning yesterday, I was watching a woman skiing and practicing drills after she had taken a lesson earlier. She was holding her pole grips in her armpits with the tips facing forward, trying to aim them downhill as she skied. Funny as hell. But pretty scary when you saw what it did to her skiing.


All I could think about was the Fembots from Austin Powers:





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Re: Real skiers read books!

Postby billbluesnjazz » Sat Jan 02, 2010 11:42 am

Interesting posts - however as a previous PSIA certified instructor, I can confirm that in the 90's (that would be 1990's) it was standard for PSIA- Eastern to teach pulling the feet back, initiating with the inside ski by using eversion (I believe you guys call it the Phantom Move) and other ski basics which have not changed in years (and yes, I skied on the very first Elan SCXs and Ivan's S skis at Aspen when they first came out). No doubt that most international ski instructor associations look for a marketing edge and so confuse the public, but the basics of skiing stay the same, with or without "shaped" skis. The movement patterns may require more subtlety and less aggressive moves at non-racing levels, but the patterns stay the same. That would include the necessity of using stem turns on fragile, avalanche-prone slopes, where a standard parallel turn entry could overload the snow-pack; or of using no edge, down-unweighted wide-track parallel turns on steep, windcrust snow, once again, to manage the pressure on the skis and avoid breaking through the crust.

Great videos in general, and definitely a help to most skiers, but skiers still need to know how to sideslip and feather edges, as well as wedge/snowplough for the high-density paths that we meet from time to time in the Alps.

By the way Harald, Werner Schuh from Zell am See says Hi - I'll be seeing him in just over a week in Austria. Say hello to Paul McKinnie for me if you see him.

Bill
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Re: Real skiers read books!

Postby Baja1 » Sat Jan 02, 2010 5:10 pm

Hi Bill. Welcome to the forum.

billbluesnjazz wrote:Interesting posts - however as a previous PSIA certified instructor, I can confirm that in the 90's (that would be 1990's) it was standard for PSIA- Eastern to teach pulling the feet back, initiating with the inside ski by using eversion (I believe you guys call it the Phantom Move) and other ski basics which have not changed in years (and yes, I skied on the very first Elan SCXs and Ivan's S skis at Aspen when they first came out).


I, too, was a PSIA-E certified instructor in the 90's. While there were a few examiners who taught inside ski eversion, (they described it as flashing the inside ski base to the outside ski boot) and one in particular who taught and encouraged flex-to-release on the lowdown (since he admitted that PSIA-E wouldn't approve - Sue Spencer didn't want it taught to PSIA membership), PSIA-E had no such basic standards as you mention. None of my clinics and exams ever included feet-pullback as a strategy, and most examiners I skied and tested with encouraged tip lead and increased rotary of the inside ski for wedge christie, open and dynamic parallel. (straight out of the ATS manual) Even Bob Shostek, who was a strong proponent of boot cuff tipping to minimize and eliminate rotary movements, still taught outside foot arch pressure/inversion for edge engagement as opposed to inside foot eversion.

I remember the SS Director's Seminar at Stratton ( '94? '95? ) when Bill Irwin brought those first Elan SCX's for us to try. We had a lot of fun that afternoon. I remember locking up my 205 Olin's to click on some 140 SCX's. Those things felt so squirrely in a straight run. He urged us to get our home mountains and rental shops on board ASAP. "This is gonna happen, guys!" he told us. "This is going to change the sport. Don't get left behind, get your people on this now!"


Bill, I agree with you that there are basics of skiing that never change, and never should change because of physics and human biomechanics. But I believe PSIA sure made a mess of things the past 15 years, and still has a poor framework of foundational movements. Stance width is terrain dependent, extend to release at transition, stacking via inclination, outside leg extension, etc., are all staples of current PSIA methodology, and are so contradictory to the type of skiing in the World Cup.

I also concur that many of the survival techniques you mention are helpful to do when necessary. But do you really think a skier with strong foundational skills, such as those taught in PMTS, really needs to be *taught* a survival-mode stem turn to use on a fragile, avalanche prone slope? Or be *taught* a wedge to navigate a crowded narrow crossover track?
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Re: Real skiers read books!

Postby h.harb » Sat Jan 02, 2010 5:57 pm

Eastern to teach pulling the feet back, initiating with the inside ski by using eversion


I don't know if anyone realizes this, but eversion is tipping to the big toe edge. Inversion is tipping to the little toe edge. So it's either one or the other, but we don't teach eversion to release in PMTS or with the Phantom Move.

Strange how when I introduced the Phantom Move to PSIA, they didn't know what is was. And I was in PSIA from 1992 to 1997. They had never heard of inside foot pull back with tipping to the Little Toe Edge, either. The first ski school director I worked with had just come from PSIA East and was current. He was amazed at the success of the Phantom Move in 1993 when Introduced it to him. So you must have had some localized tipping program because no one I've talked to admits to using or hearing of this in PSIA.

Of course knowing PSIA, they will try to capitalize on anything and say they have always had it in their system. It doesn't matter, as they don't use or teach it to help skiers ski better.
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Re: Real skiers read books!

Postby Max_501 » Sat Jan 02, 2010 9:00 pm

billbluesnjazz wrote:Interesting posts - however as a previous PSIA certified instructor, I can confirm that in the 90's (that would be 1990's) it was standard for PSIA- Eastern to teach pulling the feet back, initiating with the inside ski by using eversion (I believe you guys call it the Phantom Move) and other ski basics which have not changed in years (and yes, I skied on the very first Elan SCXs and Ivan's S skis at Aspen when they first came out).


The Phantom Move is Lift/Tip/and Pull Back.

Are you saying that in PSIA East they were/are teaching this movement pattern?
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Re: Real skiers read books!

Postby h.harb » Sat Jan 02, 2010 10:52 pm

You know, now I'm really confused, because the most sense I can make out of this is, PSIA teaches "everything", yet all their instructors ski the same. And when we teach PMTS, we ski like skiers who know how to ski, so it can't have anything to do with what you teach, so it has to be in the water or am I all wet?
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Re: Real skiers read books!

Postby Baja1 » Sun Jan 03, 2010 5:53 am

Max, PSIA never taught the combination of lift/tip/pull back. And to my knowledge, it is still not an integral part of PSIA methodology, although some select trainers or examiners may teach it that way. I do know one examiner who taught an ASIA course last season (Amateur Ski Instructors Association, a sub group of PSIA) was encouraging inside foot pull back to get increased tipping.

You're right about inversion/eversion, Harald. I got it backwards.
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Re: Real skiers read books!

Postby billbluesnjazz » Sun Jan 03, 2010 11:51 am

h.harb wrote:You know, now I'm really confused, because the most sense I can make out of this is, PSIA teaches "everything", yet all their instructors ski the same. And when we teach PMTS, we ski like skiers who know how to ski, so it can't have anything to do with what you teach, so it has to be in the water or am I all wet?


My point was that I was in clinics in the mid 90s when examiners demonstrated and taught pulling feet back and eversion, NOT that all PSIA taught this. I have no idea what they are teaching now since I have been skiing in Austria and Europe almost exclusively for the last ten years or so. I also agreed that country ski instructor organisations often have gimmicks that they promote from time to time to market their "method". This usually has nothing to do with improving student skiing, but with marketing bs.

I cannot comment on whether all PSIA instructors ski the same, except to say that this would be an amazing feat, given the wide range of body sizes, skill sets and ambitions of the skiers involved. :wink:

Sorry Harald, but I have no idea what you mean by your last sentence in the quote above.

All I can say is that many instructors in many countries demonstrate flawed fundamentals when teaching at any level (e.g. weight back, (slight )wedge turn entry, unstable upper body, inability to control the amount of edge angle subtly etc.) and yet in these same countries there are instructors who are great skiers (not necessarily from a racing background) able to handle off-piste, crud, bumps, ice, steeps without missing a heartbeat. It is clear that there is something wrong with ski instruction in general, which bodes ill for the future of skiing. You seem to have made a great contribution with PTMS as well as recognising the importance of the appropriate equipment in facilitating skill development. My concern is more how to help the public to enjoy skiing safely without unnecessary risks, providing them with the tools to ski in control in a variety of terrain.

All the best

Bill
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Re: Real skiers read books!

Postby h.harb » Sun Jan 03, 2010 2:30 pm

All new posters are welcome to the forum, Bill I'm not sure if you are new or have been around for a long time without posting. Whatever, thanks for contributing. And my best wishes to Werner.

I'm sorry about the post, if some didn't understand, I used some prior PMTS and "Anyone can be an Expert Skier", joke references.

There is some old history here. When my first book came out 1997. PSIA rejected everything in it, vehemently. They said one ski skiing was out, lifting was out, tipping was out. PSIA said my system of teaching couldn't work because beginners had to steer, with two feet equally weighted, make up extension movements and wedges.
And the story goes on and on, but my company grew and my book and DVDs sold well, and PMTS became very successful. When this was noticed by PSIA they went about reversing their story about PMTS, saying that everything I was teaching, they had been already using for years. Which maybe true, if you take all the parts of PMTS and throw them randomly into skiing history, "PMTS movements" (not the system) may well be somewhere among all the thousands of skiing ideas in last fifty years.

The power of PMTS and the difference of it is that PMTS has only the movements needed and none of the dead-end movements portrayed by the PSIA teaching systems. The Dead-end movements they incorporate so overwhelm there teaching, that any PMTS movements, that might be found, are totally lost in their system, until you go hunting and pecking for them, starting 50 years ago. No one ever used the combination of movements as described by PMTS for teaching, although world cup skiers, ski with them. And this development could never have happened within PSIA, as they would never figure out the streamlined movements in skiing that are used by the best skiers. Not even the best skiers in PSIA, ski the PMTS way. Anyway, selecting the accurate and effective movements out of the PSIA cesspool wasn’t how PMTS was discovered or designed in the first place.

PMTS was designed by reverse engineering skiing movements used by the best skiers in the world. It is also a selection of movements prioritized for there attributes that generate versatility in all conditions and situations. PMTS movements create skiers that are immediately directed toward expert skiing. All other systems lead you down the dead-end road of learning fringe movements designed only for use while you are a beginner.

That said, a single movement taken from PMTS added to, or intertwined back into PSIA just doesn't create a PMTS skier. That is why PMTS skiers don't look like PSIA instructors or PSIA taught skiers. PSIA instructors all ski the same because they use a steering based and edge set speed control, up extension progression. PMTS is not a progression, it's a needs based movement system.

PSIA skiers use edge set speed control, or they use a “Park and ride” seen by over countered hips and stiff outside legs, like the skiing, Your Ski Coach, demonstrates.
Even what you might call good skiing in PSIA has a look that is very different from PMTS skiers or that of racers. PSIA skiers have also incorporated hip following and hip rotation movements that squares them up, they use this because it creates energy for their turns. They need the energy generated through rotational in their skiing, because they miss tipping ability. They don't teach tipping, we teach it as the foundation. Rotation is just one of the quirks that stands out in PSIA skiing. When you learn with tipping movements from the beginning, you don’t have to rotate.

This is why I can recognize a PSIA taught skier from miles away. These difference between PMTS skiing and the rest, is very obvious, even to our clients who attend one PMTS camp. First time campers can pick out a PSIA instructor (out of uniform) out of a crowd. And on the flip side, we always have recreational skiers come up to us at ski resorts and comment about the nature of PMTS camp groups. They notice immediately that we ski differently.

Whatever claims are made by others and systems, PMTS stands alone and apart, it produces skiers that I am proud to watch skiing down any slope.
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Re: Real skiers read books!

Postby Baja1 » Sun Jan 03, 2010 4:10 pm

h.harb wrote:There is some old history here. When my first book came out 1997. PSIA rejected everything in it, vehemently. They said one ski skiing was out, lifting was out, tipping was out. PSIA said my system of teaching couldn't work because beginners had to steer, with two feet equally weighted, make up extension movements and wedges.
And the story goes on and on, but my company grew and my book and DVDs sold well, and PMTS became very successful. When this was noticed by PSIA they went about reversing their story about PMTS, saying that everything I was teaching, they had been already using for years.



"All truth goes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident."
--Arthur Schopenhauer
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Re: Real skiers read books!

Postby h.harb » Sun Jan 03, 2010 4:42 pm

I think before you can award achieving the 3rd stage to PSIA, we have to reassess the quote and add one more stage, to make it 4 stages. PISA is in the newly designated 3rd stage, called, "Too incompetent to understand it".

No way its "self evident" to them.
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Re: Real skiers read books!

Postby ToddW » Sun Jan 03, 2010 10:25 pm

I wasn't skiing in the Northeast in the '90s, but in the 21st century, free foot inversion and pull-back are nowhere to be seen among working PSIA-E instructors.

I saw a "highly regarded" level 3 using the hip-o-meter the other day to teach rotation to a student. Both instructor and student were throwing their shoulders enough to twist the hip-o-meter :shock: Another scary thing is that he teaches this while skiing on race stock slalom skis. I also heard another supervisor-level instructor tell a student "I want you to ..." In the cafeteria I heard a woman explaining that her instructor "got really mad at me and told me to stand up straight." And another instructor (level unknown) was explaining to his pupils in the lift line how pushing the inside foot forward while tipping it helps get you into the turn. In the few wedge classes that I observed from the lifts, the instructors' actual turning force came from upper body rotation -- it seems the gliding wedge is too hard for the average instructor. I can sympathize. A few weeks ago at the A-basin blue camp, four of us saw Harald near the top of the lift and as a prank decided to snowplow off the lift over to where he was. It turns out the joke was on us: we were surprised how much effort it required. :lol:

These instructors remind me of the million monkeys typing away to eventually create Shakespeare. Once they've made all possible mistakes, then they'll be left with the bag of tools that works. They'll discover that the tools are actually movements and alignment methodologies, and that Harald wrote them down years ago :mrgreen:
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