Now that I have your attention with that controversial title...
I had an interesting conversation with a friend on the lift today.
My friend recently took a post-Interski session from one of the Austrian participants. My friend was raving about her technique and how it was better than our Canadian technique. He went so far as to say that if he'd had the chance to learn to ski over again, he'd go the Austrian route instead. I was shocked. The specifically odd part, aside from him somehow not wanting to have gone the CSIA route, was in his assertion that you should really pressure the shovel during phase 1. In my view, getting forward on your skis leads to rotation. And it led to my new internal conflict below.
My personal perspective has always been that CSIA skiing looks and feels the most balanced, adaptable, and high performance at higher levels. Obviously I'm looking at this from a national perspective rather than individual skiers. But I acknowledge my bias. First, I'm Canadian, so my country's ski system must automatically be the best. Second, I've taken well over 100 lessons and clinics by CSIA instructors, versus one and a half from "foreign" instructors (one full PMTS lesson years ago, and one half PSIA pseudo-lesson recently; more like feedback from a PSIA perspective). Third, I'm a CSIA instructor, coach, and snowboard instructor--which are also tied to CSIA's model. You could say my exposure to good skiing is all based on CSIA technique. (By extension, high-end PSIA technique looks pretty good to me as the American system values a similar skill-based model. I would be happy to ski like many of the level 3s.)
So here's the issue: There are skiers all around the world who could (and do every day) smoke me. However, I can see their issues from a Canadian perspective, whether that's rotation, a lazy inside leg, crazy pressure control from extreme flexion/extension... these issues are evident to me even in the interski videos of some nations.
Is it possible that some of these "issues" aren't actually bad, despite our understanding of physics and biomechanics through CSIA training? Or if you develop through a different system, are there effective workarounds to these issues?
I recognize there's no "right" or "wrong" in skiing, just consequences. But we want to teach to provide opportunities to experience maximum sensations, fun, terrain and snow conditions while minimizing risk and effort/exertion (or providing the option to minimize exertion). Can diametrically opposed techniques enable these opportunities?