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An Ott Classic

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Shown below is an absolutely magnificent post by Ott at realskiers.com

The John he refers to is John Mason who was detailing his experiences at Loveland this past Monday.

Ott, your wisdom cannot be matched!!!
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Ott Gangl



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>>>>For myself I spent the rest of the morning not skiing so much but trying different things like 5 short radius alternating with 5 long turns, one ski vs two ski balance, playing with varying levels of countering,<<<

John, when we ski together in Seven Springs there will be no drills and all thinking will be suspended. Over fifty years ago back home in the Bavarian Alps I learned the formula, I'll give it to you now so you can 'think' about it now BECAUSE ALL THINKING WILL BE OUTLAWED THERE WHILE SKIING!

Here is the formula:

In the morning, before we start to ski we drink three shots of Jaegermeister and chase it with a beer. That is just enough to still keep your equilibrium and balance but it will suspend all THINKING.

The litmus test if you have it just right is that after a few turns you should feel like YODELING and NOT be aware that you are on skis, it doesn't matter if you know how to yodel or not and all skiers around you should look like angels floating down the slope.

If, after a few turns you 'think' " I don't feel like yodeling and I'm still aware of my skis and all skiers around me look like hacks" , you are 'thinking' too much and you need a reinforcing shot of Jaegermeister.

If, on the other hand, you notice that you fall down after releasing at the end of every turn, three shots were too much, understandable since Jaegermeister affects people with lower body weight more than us normal heavyweights.

In that case you need to sit on the sun deck for an hour, making sure you take off your goggles or sun glasses so you won't look like an owl when you get home and it also helps to hold one of those reflective shields under your chin. In my case, I also need to take my hat off so my bald head doesn't look like I'm wearing a scull cap.

When the skiers on the slope look like angels floating down the hill it is time to put your skis back on.

After a good and plenty lunch, three shots of Jaegermeister will assure that your nap will be restful and that when you wake up you are prepared to go to happy hour (or tea dance, when in Europe) and enjoy your manhattens.

Anderl Molterer, a hot shot racer in the olden times had it right with the exception that he chased his Jaegermeisters with champagne. Easy for him, since he never had to pay for it.

So now you know. Start practicing "NOT THINKING WHILE SKIING".

....Ott
post #2 of 18
I like it! I think I'd go the champagne too (and do, frequently). Although I do not generally drink and ski, on my last day's skiing (with Disski and a colleague) a couple of weeks ago, Disski bought us some very fancy German beer in huge bottles at lunch, and I have to say, I skiied loose and relaxed and it felt pretty darn good.
No thinking.
post #3 of 18
Well done Ott! Great way to approach skiing and life!
post #4 of 18
In that same thread I posted the following;

John,

Silver Springs is in Maryland. Ott wants to meet you at Seven Springs and that is outside of Ligonier Pennsylvania. It is where I grew up skiing under the teaching of Lars Skyling in 1963.

I was kind of hoping that by now you would have responded to my post. I want to take a moment to expand upon what I said.

Three years ago a guy named PMTS wacko, aka, SCSA appeared at Epicski. He came in with a flourish criticizing traditional ski teaching, making a claim to be a better skier than 97% of the population (sound familiar?), etc., etc., I was the first person at epicski to go ski with the guy. I posted a rather glowing report about the guys skiing and enthusiasm.

Let's be perfectly honest. SCSA initiated much of the rancor. To this day, I consider him to be a friend, however, he would be man enough to admit he got the fire roaring. That is his style and he is proud of it.

I think it is the job and/or duty of a ski professional to focus on the positives in other folks skiing. I may be critical of some of the things esposed by Harald. That is a different matter.

Our friend Ott and I have had the chance to ski together. For any age individual, Ott is a very gifted skier. For a man his age he is exceedingly gifted. I spent a day skiing with him and on that day he was suffering from a mild concussion due to a boarder knocking him down the day before and he had a touch of pneumonia. He skiied like a twenty year old all day. Ott wrote me and asked about your skiing. I gave him an honest appraisal. That prompted Ott to offer you a little advice.

I would have offered my counsel, however, I did not do so for three simple reasons;

1. You didn't ask.
2. You would not listen.
3. You seem at times to have all the answers.

I want to speak to these points for a moment. First I try to not give unsoloicited advice to skiers. In the event they want my help they can take a lesson. You seemed to be saddened that we did not spend time with you to, as you put it, exchange ideas. We both realize there would be no exchange. You would have done just what you have done on the internet for the past year. On the topic of listening. You have a teacher. You believe in his teachings THAT IS WHAT LEARNING IS ALL ABOUT. I have suggested before that you should continue with PMTS. I simply ask that you realize from our side of the fence we have no desire to here you say, after 75 days, what is right or wrong with PSIA. It is bad stuff and in bad taste IMHO.

Now, I will explain my use of the word speechless and this dovetails into what Ott wrote. Allow me to digress for one moment. This week Bob, Mike W, Katey P and I all skiied with Lisamarie from epicski. She is a relatively new skier like yourself. She has your same love of the sport and boundless enthusiasm. Between the four of us, I assume we have close to a century of teaching experience. We all agreed on one thing and that was to leave her alone and advise her to just go ski.

I was "speechless" because on a beautiful Colorado day, there you were alone, drudgingly traversing the hill doing drills. We know all the drills. We have seen them, read portions of Harald's book, been prostelytized to by a myriad of folks who believe PSIA is the old and PMTS the new. He has you convinced he alone has reinvented the wheel. It was my day off. I wasn't about to participate in a live version of these forums.

I have gone on too long. Go ski. You look like you were working in a field behind a plow and mule. It's recreation not work. I think if you will stop thinking and start having fun you might find you'll have a few folks to go ski with and you just might start to ski pretty darn well.

The main objection I have to PMTS is the original premise put forth that "everyone can be an expert skier".

I disagree.

I do believe everyone can learn to have fun skiing.
post #5 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by ant
I like it! I think I'd go the champagne too (and do, frequently). Although I do not generally drink and ski, on my last day's skiing (with Disski and a colleague) a couple of weeks ago, Disski bought us some very fancy German beer in huge bottles at lunch, and I have to say, I skiied loose and relaxed and it felt pretty darn good.
No thinking.

I told you - we have my optimal alcohol intake well tagged. I know just how much I need for best skiing performance....
So far I can't find an instructor who disagrees .... it just takes a bit to work out what alcohol I need to bribe them with....
post #6 of 18
Its the first time I've seen the " The Blond Blitz From Kitz " referenced in a thread. He must have been kinda the Joe Namath of skiing back in the 50's and 60's. Correct me if I am wrong , but I think he even raced in the early years of the World Pro Skiing Professional Ski Racing Tour and he was an "older guy" by then.

There's a great picture of him up in the restaurant on top of Aspen Mtn. running gates.
post #7 of 18
Yes, Roundturns, as a photojournalist I covered races where Anderl raced, unfortunately I can't find but one on a proof, all my pictures are in unorganized piles.

At the race this picture was taken, Molterer knocked one of the bamboo poles used for gates out and it rolled ahead of him and he had to ski over it twice, you could hear him bitching all over the mountain. He was a little guy, barely over my shoulder high but he could party with the best of them.

I asked him one very late night before the race why he isn't in bed sleeping and he said that he never could sleep the night before a race, he would go over and over in his mind about the race slope, get up at 2 a.m. and walk it and generally work himself up and that worked against him during the race, but if he partied it would relax him and his knees would be really flexible. I'm sure the last was tongue in cheek.

His greastest regret was that though he won more races than anyone in his time he never won an Olympic Gold medal.He won a silver in GS and a bronze in downhill in 1956. This picture was taken forty years ago.

....Ott

post #8 of 18
Thanks for the picture Ott. I'm not an instructor so consider the source. My opinion on developing ski skills is for most people, you have to ski a lot of runs before movements feel natural and can be executed without being forced. Lito in his first book , talked about dynamic anticipation, and felt this was the basis for truly great relaxed unforced skiing on difficult terrain and conditions. Kinda a skiers magic move, everything else falls in place if you can incorporate dynamic anticipation into your skiing.

I'd like to make an analogy to golf, a sport I love , but have been for the most part inept at going on 25 years now. The first year I played, with no idea what correct swing fundamentals were, I shot a respectable 100 as a guest at a country club. I was very encouraged, and became committed to becoming a better golfer. I bought every book, video, every swing training device, lived at the driving range, never met a swing tip I didn't like. But NEVER TOOK A LESSON FROM A PGA PRO.

I finally did but my thinking was so emersed in my self interpreted misconceptions of all the instructional stuff I had read , I was and still am an impossible project. On the first T , my mind is flipping through golf digest swing tips and the odds of me hitting a nice drive are about nil.

I believe if I would have just kept playing without going nuts on the instructional stuff, I would have had a chance to have some type of natural golf swing , and not be a mechanical robot and enjoy the sport more.

So I take it to heart what you are saying about just skiing , letting go, and discovering that your body will teach you incredible things .The biggest rewards and gains probably are achieved by taking this approach to the sport. Going from point A to point B down the hill. The other thing I think is essential is to be certain alignment is correct so stance issues do not interfere.
post #9 of 18
It is from what viewpoint you aproach golf or skiing. I have a brother-in-law who is a natural athlete, three times all-american in soccer, inducted in three hall-of-fames and an avid golfer who works Summers at a golf course and Winters at a ski area. He is a low handicap golfer and tries to improve by playing and doesn't read Golf Digest or have any instructional books or videos, though he watches important golf tounaments on TV.

He is pretty content with his game.

My wife's cousin Franz is a forty years ski instructor who took up golf in his later years and spends a lot of time on the golf course but for entirely different reasons than Fritz, my bother-in-law. He goes out several times a week with his buddies to a small golf course nearby where they get breakfast, 18 holes with cart and lunch for $11.

All of them are no where near breaking a 100 but you have never seen a bunch happier with their time together than them.

What separates golf and skiing is that in recreational skiing no one keeps score and individuals who do not wish to progress can have as good a time as the golfers who shoot 130 and are happy with it. The single most spoiler of having extreme fun in skiing is to compare yourself to someone else, you need to ski for yourself just as when you are on a crowded dance floor you do not compare yourself to the damcers around you (or maybe you do?)

Would you compare that ski vacation to a cruise where you enjoy the atmosphere, the locale, the amenities, the enjoyment, or do you compare it to a boot camp where you must measure your progress at the end from that of the beginning.

It is all in the makeup of your personalitiy and one is not better or worse if it suits you.

....Ott
post #10 of 18
I don't know John all that well, just familiar with some of his posts on realskier and here, but (and this may be wildly off-base) I think he may be misunderstood to some extent. I know that may sound cliche' but let me try and explain.

I can relate to John's desire to run training drills on a day when others comment that he should just relax and throw down some turns. I think there is a type of person, I include myself in them (and from the sounds of it probably John) that is almost single-mindedly committed to the pursuit of technical perfection. That pursuit is a double edged sword becuase it is a source of great hapiness, and misery. I would bet that when John nails a drill just the way he wants it, he is as happy and thrilled at that moment as anyone on the mountain. I would even venture to say that it is relaxing. In many ways I could see myself also out there doing drill after drill and totally content in the practice.

To other people, and most certainly my girlfriend, this behavior seems bizaare. Why would you want to practice like that? Aren't you taking all of the fun out of it? It's really no fun to do that with you....

Like I started the post with, I don't mean this to be in any way a comment about John and most certainly not a critque of a discussion or situation I have no knowledge of what-so-ever. It just struck me as a theme I have seen in my own life on occasion. One in which there is some activity (billiards, skiing, darts) where I am in such intense competition with myself, that I can be percieved as rigid, dogmatic, and more importantly no fun to others that I am participating with. They say you should just kick back and have fun, the truth being that you are... just in a much different way.

Ott metioned "do you see skiing as a boot camp", to categorize what I am describing and I don't think that is at all correct. "Boot camp" has a very negative connotation (do you know anyone that loves to go to boot camp? I don't), where as the drills and resulting progress is enjoyed in much the same way as a leisurely cruise and in no way excludes the ammenities, locale, people, etc...

That said, if I ever end up on the slopes with any of the members of this forum, i'll hammer a few shots and yodel with ya
post #11 of 18
I've said it to John on realskier, doing drills while skiing alone or with a like minded person is fine and I'm sure is fun for you. But if you look to hook up with skiers who are out cruising the mountain for fun you need to put drills aside or you need to convince them to do them with you. I do think that doing drills are a lone activity and that's OK.

John has so much knowledge crammed into him that I daubt that he could keep quiet when he sees someone who skis with him doing something he disagrees with, like doing some wedging, but maybe I'm wrong.

....Ott
post #12 of 18
I totally agree to that Ott. If you want to have fun skiing with friends, your friends have to be having fun too.
post #13 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ott Gangl
I've said it to John on realskier, doing drills while skiing alone or with a like minded person is fine and I'm sure is fun for you. But if you look to hook up with skiers who are out cruising the mountain for fun you need to put drills aside or you need to convince them to do them with you. I do think that doing drills are a lone activity and that's OK.

Agreed Ott....

I used to be the queen of doing drills - it was how I needed to learn (repetitive movement build brain pathways)

HOWEVER - I did drills when there was no-one else around ..... other times I skied to lunch or whatever. I even remember hiking from a lift to lunch on the mountain & then hiking back UP to the lift after lunch so I could lunch with my more advanced friends. I also skied (very slowly) down a slope I was quite scared of just so I could lunch with friends. (Vodka shots help get one to agree to this stuff)

Also remember skiing my first "backcountry" trips just so I could picnic with friends on another friends birthday.

Sometimes you just have to ski.

BTW OTT - one day I want a lesson with you - so you will have to come out of retirement for the day!
post #14 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by disski
BTW OTT - one day I want a lesson with you - so you will have to come out of retirement for the day!
He won't have to come out of retirement...just skiing with Ott is a lesson in loving life: who could want more?
post #15 of 18
>>>BTW OTT - one day I want a lesson with you - so you will have to come out of retirement for the day!<<<

disski, a lesson with me would be to tell you to have confidence in what you have not push for what you think you need. And then we go to lunch.

As I read your posts, you are a skier who knows the basics and really that is all you need to negotiate most inbound slopes. They are to know how to hang onto your edges and to finish a turn. Hanging onto your edges means, among other things, that you not rotate your body so as to lose the tail grip and to keep balance.

Finishing your turns goes to confidence. If you start your turn slowly from a shallow traverse on any steepness slope, be mindful to keep your body up with the skis as they speed up during the fall line phase and let them come around in the finish until you go as slow as you started the first turn and only then start your next turn, you can repeat those turns on any steepness slope and never get out of control.

But you have to keep balance and hang onto your edges during each turn or all bets are off. The moment your edges let go unintentionally you will have a balance bauble from which you have to recover. If you get in the back seat during the fall line phase of the turn your ski tips will lose their bite because of loss of pressure and straighten out and you will careen in a schuss. But since you don't do these things you should just trust in the things you know. And then we go for happy hour.

OK, now I go back into retirment.

Ryel, love of life and the joy of just being alive and doing my hobbies, like skiing, and giving back to others what my aging being has soaked up, on a take it or leave it basis, make my days mellow. My gravestone will read "No regrets".

Thanks for the complement.

...Ott
post #16 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ott Gangl
disski, a lesson with me would be to tell you to have confidence in what you have not push for what you think you need. And then we go to lunch.


...... But since you don't do these things you should just trust in the things you know. And then we go for happy hour.

...Ott
The first bit seems very similar to the advice of the staatliche I took lessons from... "Forget the bad turns - they are finished with now & focus onm them can only tecah you how to ski bad turns - Remember the good ones & learn from them"

Lunch & happy hour are good & I always ski better after happy hour....

OK - one day we drink together & have a ski
post #17 of 18
Ott seems to have the best message I've seen on this board yet.
See you in Seven Springs!
post #18 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bonni
Ott seems to have the best message I've seen on this board yet.
See you in Seven Springs!
You took those words right out of my mouth...
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