Skier levels and who is an expert!!

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Skier levels and who is an expert!!

Postby Harald » Sun Oct 31, 2004 11:28 pm

I separate skiers into the following categories. This is my take on ability and versatility.


Green level Start up skiers


Blue level or intermediates Recreational skiers, some
instructors


Advanced Blue Instructors, recreational skiers


Advanced skiers who can ski Black terrain Most Instructors,
recreational skiers


Black Level skiers Instructors, trainers,
examiners, ski racers



Experts Few instructors, (some
demo team members) all
mountain competitors, ski
racers below seventy points
FIS.


Experts with elite racing ability Racers, all mountain, national
team, college
racers, top ten NCAA only.




Examples of skiers that would fill in the categories:

Experts, and all mountain with racing ability, Tommy Moe, Jeremy Nobus, Chris Davenport

Experts:
Eric DesLauriers, Dan Egan, Shane McConkey. Doug Combs

Black Level:
Most instructors who are examiners, but even within this group there are some who don't handle all mountain Black terrain very well.

Advanced who ski Black: Most ski instructors and recreational skiers



Expert skiers can control speed on icy black terrain, cutting round slalom turns, leaving two tracks. This is a high level skill and requires strength, training and talent. This is beyond but only a handful, few demo team members are able to ski these turns. These are fair, realistic categories, without any embellishment of abilities.
Harald
 

The contradiction

Postby John Mason » Mon Nov 01, 2004 1:22 pm

Anyone can be an Expert Skier

By the preceeding list, we see I shall never be an expert skier in that rarified sense.

However, I'm quite happy skiing with expert movement patterns. I believe that is more the point of the title. Learn skiing with the movements the experts use and start with them from day one.

I spent some time very recently on a ski deck. I skied on it (no problems Harald, even with either foot one footed - big change from a year ago!). There was a PSIA III cert there giving people pointers and he skied on it to. In all of his turns he initiated with the outside foot first. He had some level of a-frame entry to all of his turns. His inside leg was not tipped and matching the outside foot ever. He was also positivily glowing about what he learned at the acadamy for PSIA this year about the joys of a wider stance. He showed me what he meant. He then showed me a stance wider than shoulder and proceeded to create wide "railroad" turns on the ski deck. He thought it was great he could do what the racers have been doing for years.

I didn't say anything. Well, not too much anyway. He saw me ski on the deck and said keep skiing with Herb (HH) as he's one of the best.

I felt I had visited another planet, the approaches were so fundementally different. Yet, he liked what he saw me doing, but didn't understand what I was doing to do it. (or thought he did)

It was a strange day. I like expert movements. The focus on lateral tipping of the inside foot, releasing to help create the new turn, a focus on using balance, a functional stance that also supports use of balance. The interesting thing was this PSIA III cert was obviously familar with PMTS as he would say things like HH was the first person to really get people thinking about using the LTE of their inside foot. But his cursary knowledge did not translate into anything meaningful from what I was seeing. His focus was on that outside BTE and he was overpowering the inside leg on the ski deck with consistancy.

He also said that the stance should be narrow in bumps and in short radius turns and wide for long gradual turns. (and he meant wide like you won't believe) He claimed you could not do a long radius turn with a narrow stance. Like I said I bit my lip. He was telling this to one of my fellow lafayette ski club members. I just figure I'll have fun with these friends this year and see what they think. My legs under my hip sockets was much too narrow for his point of view. My legs were not together, but just where they would "dangle".

I just found it interesting the trends being taught at the top of PSIA at their acadamy is pretty much what I was seeing - a faux race inspired, mis-interpeted wide stance approach that eliminates balance and use of same in skiing and results in what you might call giant railroad turns.

I see this same thing in some of the recent SKI magazine instruction articles. It grosses me out, frankly. It is so unlike the people on HH's list ski like.
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Postby Willy » Tue Nov 02, 2004 10:39 am

If to be an expert skier one must ski like Coombs, Deslauriers, Eagan,
(Micah Black or Glen Plake no good?), then I do not understand why in
your books you do not have a chapter on sick-air or dropping 50 footers off some cliff in Alaska, and the need to ski 200+ days a year, sponsors and large budgets. I guess I am never going to leave the terminal intermediate group. :cry: Going to do hara-kiri now, bye!
Willy
 

A-frame, O-frame...so what

Postby Ott Gangl » Tue Nov 02, 2004 11:18 am

John, In your post you mention that the level3 instructor used an A-frame entry to his turns. Did he get to go where he wanted to go? Did the a-frame entry prevent him from skiing effectively? It's just a different turn system and you may have squandered the opportunity to learn and ad another skill to you quiver. Ditto with the wide track. Even if you rarely use it, it is good to know what it feels like. I never pass an opportunity to learn something new, if I agree with it or not. As I said, I am looking forward for you to teach me the EWS turn at Seven Springs.

Now about the O-frame that you espouse. The o-frame entry happens every time when you are still on the LTE of your uphill ski and you start to tilt your dowhill ski in the EWS turn, and most others, This is demonstrated by Harald on his web site in :"Alternate, Short Phantom Turns". which means to use your own words:" His inside leg was not tipped and matching the outside foot ever." Which also is true anytime you tip the inside ski more in order for the stance ski to follow.

In both cases it obviously gets the skier where he wants to go which is the whole purpose.

So if a-framing is so bad, how come o-framing isn't?

Harald,

Your book title is "Anyone can be an expert skier", getting skiers hopes up and then you post an exclusive list of just who can be an expert skier. Which of the two is your true belief?

....Ott
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Postby jclayton » Tue Nov 02, 2004 11:40 am

Ott,
surely in an A frame the new inside ski remains somewhat flat and so cannot carve well , balance is compromised , the release is inefficient and even though he goes where he wants ( more or less ) it does look a bit naff . The O frame is actually instantaneous and hardly noticeable but is a result of having to move the inside foot first so the outside one doesn't overtake it i.e. physioologically it cannot be moved as fast . An A frame is basically an unsuccessful O frame . Who wants to learn unsuccessful techniques ?

I think Harald should perhaps change his catergories to Intermediate,Advanced , Expert , Super Expert , Out of reach of mortal man Expert . A fairer classification of expert is in Haralds articles on High -C etc..
skinut ,among other things
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meets so many

Postby Oh my!! » Tue Nov 02, 2004 12:23 pm

Funny that everywhere john goes he runs into level III folks with "bad" habits.

Aside from formal instruction, I have never skied with nor run into a level III that I am aware, and that spans 3 decades at least.

If he had just taken up Golf---would he be running into the Harvey Pennick's of the world at each turn?
Oh my!!
 

I have to chime in

Postby skier_j » Tue Nov 02, 2004 12:31 pm

I agree with Ott, JM and JC. These definitions exclude all but the best in the world from the title Expert.


And the list goes up from there as if Eric is just merely your basic run of the mill, chopped liver expert!

Should I expect to become expert if I buy the book?

If I don't, what then?
Whee!
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This is easier to understand

Postby Harald » Tue Nov 02, 2004 1:15 pm

Here are slight changes to my post on the topic ?Expert Skiers and Skier levels. The program changed my formatting when I originally posted. This will make it clear and easier to understand.

I separate skiers into the following categories. This is my take on ability and versatility.


Green level:
Start up skiers


Blue level or intermediates:
Recreational skiers, some instructors


Advanced Blue:
Instructors, recreational skiers


Advanced skiers who can ski Black terrain:
Most Instructors, recreational skiers


Black Level skiers:
Instructors, trainers, examiners, ski racers,
recreational skiers



Experts:
Few instructors, (some demo team members) all
mountain competitors, ski racers below seventy points
FIS.


The elite Experts:
National team racing ability racers, select all mountain competitors, , college
racers, top ten NCAA only.




Examples of skiers that would fill in the categories:

Experts, and all mountain with racing ability, Tommy Moe, Jeremy Nobus, Chris Davenport

Experts:
Eric DesLauriers, Dan Egan, Shane McConkey. Doug Combs

Black Level:
Most instructors who are examiners, but even within this group there are some who don't handle all mountain Black terrain very well.

Advanced who ski Black: Most ski instructors and recreational skiers



Expert skiers can control speed on icy black terrain, cutting round slalom turns, leaving two tracks. This is a high level skill and requires strength, training and talent. This is beyond but only a handful, few demo team members are able to ski these turns. These are fair, realistic categories, without any embellishment of abilities.

I think this rating system can be fine tuned and be considered a work in progress, I'm open to input on the subject.
Harald
 

Ott - you already now the EWS turn I thought

Postby John Mason » Tue Nov 02, 2004 1:29 pm

O framing draws the body into the turn. The A-frame pulls the legs under the body. That's the oppisite direction the body needs to be. O-frame promotes balance. A-frame destroys balance and forces active steering to catch up.

The O frame is slight and often hard to observe. The skis are still parallel in an O frame. The A-frame results in non-parallel skis which is a problem in many real life skiing situations.

Take a look at skiersynergies new post. It's a good comparison of both approaches.

I don't have to learn a steering approach from a PSIA cert and a-frame stemmed entry to know what I'm missing. I used to ski that way. Why would I want to go back to that?

Hope to see you at SS in PA!
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Postby Willy » Tue Nov 02, 2004 1:56 pm

What's happening?

Harald after books and videos and forums on how everybody can be an expert skier, finally tells us that expert status is truly limited to a few handfuls of super-gifted skiers. Does it mean he does not believe in PMTS any more? Or is the author of this thread just a clone instead of Harald?

Mr. Mason must be the skier in the world with the worst luck. He has met the largest number of level 3 PSIA instructors stemming their turns like they were beginners. I am not here to defend PSIA, but John's bad luck is beyond the laws of probability. I have seen many level 3 PSIA skiers doing very well and resorting to lesser technique when getting outside groomed slopes. Sure, occasionally they may stem a turn, but now it seems that in Mr. Mason's recollections they are all stuck on stem turns. Hard to believe.

Plus, I do not see how Mr. Mason's argument is related to Harald's or pseudo-Harald's original post. We are talking about expert skiing and here we go after PSIA skiing. I am not used to find sins in others, I prefer to concentrate on mine own and after I clear my sould of those I may go after somebody else's sins.

The real problem here is that "Everybody can be and Expert Skier" and the topic of this post do not seem to go well together. It is almost bad marketing, if I am allowed to say.
Willy
 

Postby Harald » Tue Nov 02, 2004 2:14 pm

My books the ones that are called ?Anyone can be an Expert Skier? 1 and 2, are books that explain the technique that can show the way to becoming an expert skier. There are skiers who have become expert, from PMTS instruction. We also have seen skiers become Experts from the racing ranks using PMTS movements.

AN example of an expert skier is Franz Fuchsberger, Franz was not a racer; he started late and became a very good Masters racer. I include the top Masters Racers in the Expert category, although I did not list all racing categories. The top three Masters, in each men?s age group, from twenty seven to fifty-five or there about are definitely expert skiers. Some may have been Elite Experts at one time, but age and body wear take their toll and they can no longer maintain that level.

Women in Masters racing have to be able to beat most of the men, if they are to be considered expert skiers. There are far fewer women racing Masters and there isn?t the depth on the women?s side. In a full length GS race last season Diana beat all the men and another women from Vail, in the same race (ex-world cup and Olympic skier from Norway) also beat all the men, these are expert skiers.

You can come much closer to achieving expert level skiing by using PMTS, but if you don?t have the time dedication and physical ability, you may be very satisfied with being an expert at the blue or black terrain levels.

The ranking I posted, doesn?t preclude you from becoming an expert of movement within your selected terrain choices. I use a corresponding rating system to evaluate expert skiing on Green, Blue or Black terrain. The rating level I posted here is an overall skier ability and category rating. You can achieve the Expert rating on Blue terrain if you can carve, release off the downhill ski, keep the upper body balanced and co-coordinated for the turn you are selecting on blue terrain. These abilities offer the skier a wide range of skiing and terrain. Not every skier wants to ski double black and deal with the risks involved in becoming an Expert, as per the over all Skier Rating.

Our PMTS instructors who achieve the Blue level have a set of clear movement criteria. These are listed on the PMTS.org web site. We have numerous students who aspire to those standards. Those standards develop the foundation for expert skiing. You can ski with expert movements with these standards and apply them to terrain choices. In other words you can be an expert at movement. If a skier doesn't want to ski difficult terrain or race, they can still enjoy the sensations of expert skiing offered by the proper use of shaped skis on blue terrain. These sensations are thrilling enough to many. The expert movements that access these sensations, are not the movements we see demonstrated by average skier on the slopes.

The video that milesb posted is an example of not meeting the standard for the terrain that was selected. If the skiers on those videos performed the same movements with those turns on blue slopes, they would not be considered expert skiers on blue terrain by any rating.

I could have called my books, ?Anyone can learn to ski with expert movements? that is the theme of my books, a little wordy. You guys are so literal; did you really believe you were going to ski like a national ski team member by using any technique? Funny how not one of the thousands who have read my books has asked why they don't ski like Tommy Moe after using my books, only you guys on the forums.
Harald
 

Postby BigE » Tue Nov 02, 2004 3:04 pm

Obviously, those that purchased the books have much different definitions of "expert" than Mr. Harb.

I don't think that these rarified definitions of expert should ever have been made. They've needlessly raised the performance standard, and lowered public expectations. I truly doubt anyone would believe the books would make them ski like Tommy Moe, but they sure did promise a path to expert skiing for anyone, not just the natural athletes that inhabit the expert domain.

Mr. Harb, if I were you, I'd quickly have this thread deleted.
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Postby Harald » Tue Nov 02, 2004 3:29 pm

Expert List

I did not list the extreme skiers for their jumping or air talent, but for their skiing ability. I did not put out a complete list of skiers for any of the categories. I don?t know them all, and I didn?t list all the ones I know. I hope, given the categories you could determine the people you feel that qualify.

I coached Chris Davenport and Kim Reichhelm during their early years as racers, I know their abilities. Glenn Plake is a bump basher who I have never seen make a round turn. He is a personality who made it by being extreme. He maybe able to do it, I have never seen it. I wouldn?t put him in the elite Expert category.

I would not put Scot Smit sp? in the elite or the expert category. I have skied with Scott and he is one of the best ever terrain, extreme skier and jumpers, in powder, but he couldn?t, when I skied with him, carve a round turn or maintain speed control on steep, groomed, icy slopes (Mt Hood). This is a huge hole in the complete skier?s repertoire.

I know Tommy Moe can ski it all, I have hiked the extreme slopes with Tommy on Alyeska. If Tommy had wanted to compete in the world extreme championships, he would have won.

I also coached skiers who have placed third or better in the world extreme championships in more than one competition. I have a good sense of what it takes to ski at that level. I don?t take the selections on that list lightly.

I?d be glad if the participants on the forum would submit names to the categories. We could discuss the differences in skiing techniques and all around skiing ability based on your selections.

The only reason Eric isn?t automatically on the elite list is because of his lack of racing ranking. I have skied numerous times with Eric and I was torn whether or not to put him in the elite category. I guess he could go either way. Who ever said the Expert level is run-of-the-mill doesn?t get it. The Expert level is extremely high. I just didn?t move those skiers up to Elite Expert level, who might have had previous credentials, but were now older and less active. The elite level is a skier who can do everything. The Expert level skier may have a slightly less than full resume in one area.
Harald
 

Fitting into your slot

Postby Harald » Tue Nov 02, 2004 4:55 pm

BigE

Do you ski and enjoy skiing because of how people categorize your skiing? Do you ski for the personal satisfaction of your turns and the experience of the mountains? Are the sensations of gliding on the snow less important to you than how you are classified? You may want to re-evaluate your motivations. Just because I don?t consider myself in the Elite Expert category, doesn?t mean I stopped trying to get better every season.

If I lower the standards of Expert skiers does that make your skiing different? My motivation is to make every skier the best skier they can be. If that skier can become expert or Black level, great!! If not, they will enjoy the sport with the most efficient movements available at the level that is appropriate for them.

Does the reality of how you fit into my skier rankings destroy your fun for skiing? I?m sorry if it does. I may not be able to make your present level fit into or close to Eric DesLauriers?s level. There is a big difference between a recreational skier(I don?t know how you ski) and an athlete who has pursued the sport their whole life. Does this reality diminish the fun, of the sport?

I often hear the frustration from racers who have to fight hard to make the next level. My answer to them is, skiing at the higher levels is tough, if it were easy, we would have too many World Cup winners.
Harald
 

Postby Willy » Tue Nov 02, 2004 5:00 pm

I agree with BigE. If this is truly Harald, (as still I am not convinced 100%) I would erase this full post. It is really bad marketing. I already feel like I have less of a desire to ski with him or use PMTS. Nobody expects to become the best skier in the world by just reading a book. Nevertheless, there was a lot of hype built around PMTS, and by H. H himself. What's next? Tell skiers to go back to PSIA? :cry:

To me being an expert skier is to achieve what one sets out to do. If I wanted to ski down Mt. Everest and I'd do it, I am an expert in my book.
Remember: one mistake and you are history! Tommy Moe may loose a race or take a tumble. And, if having WC experience is a pre-requisite, then how about Alberto Tomba, Ingemar Stenmark, Franz Klammer, or
the others who won way more than Tommy Moe? Are all ex-WC skiers
automatically elite. I saw one in bumps. He was way worse than myself.

I don't know. I followed this forum and never posted. Today I felt compelled to do it. But I truly wish this is a bogus thread for else something is fishy in the entire issue of PMTS.
Willy
 

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