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Harb Ski Systems - - Page 2

post #31 of 212

yep - and that's the rub

17 percent retention

change that even a tad and the whole industry improves

rather that being objective and testing and seeing what method from whatever source creates more repeat skiers the focus is on making sure the student had a good time

You have hit the perverbial nail.

(more than you'll ever realize in fact)
post #32 of 212
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Mason
Often the camp attendees that Harald gets have been skiing for years and are looking for advancement. Most have been to lessons private and camp based for years. That's the typical PMTS student.
HT, there is a huge difference between the above description and
Quote:
But, I don't think there is a significant percentage of never-evers who would care to delve into the technical minutia as they contemplate taking lessons. They, I am willing to bet, want to get to skiing safely and not look silly trying.
I suspect you are right that the second group cares little of the technicalities.

Early on you said something like "a technological innovation is apparant but is not being delivered to the market."

I don't think HH has anything new technologically---certainly, he has a different method of presenting things that have been around forever.
post #33 of 212
HT, just what is your objective with this thread? Why the personal interest in new skier return rates and maximizing customer value? You thinking of pursuing a ski resort management position? Considering a hostile takeover of Harb Inc.?
post #34 of 212
Thread Starter 

I could certainly be wrong...

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Mason
...snip...

(oh - that 200 camp number per year is just a tad low - but obviously the whole ski market is huge - milesb is correct - it's more a mind gene thing)
...do you know the corret number? And might you (anyone?) know how many skiers take lessons each year? Not sure how that would be measured (in instructional hours, maybe?). And I wonder how many never-evers take their first lesson each year.
post #35 of 212
Thread Starter 

Thanks, Rick!

Thanks, Rick:

Good info. I appreciate it.

What you described, however, is a typical component of glowth limited by resources. It is very common for companies with new technologies or techniques (in the case of service industries) to have their growth limited by resources. In this case, one or two individuals doing all the selling and teaching.

There are ways to break those compromises. And they should be broken. There is an entire world of never-evers who have not yet tasted the thrill and beauty of skiing! Just like the shaped skis took over the market, there is tremendous opportunity for a better teaching system to break through.

You sound like you respect what HSS is teaching. In your opinion, is HSS open to ideas?

Thanks!

- HT


Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick H
HT and all,

First, HSS is growing. John Mason says that all of the camps are full. For that is a simple reason; Rich Messer, other than Harald and Diana, is the cheif instructor and broke his back this past autumn. HSS is very careful to employ people that are fully accredited for the camps. To get the accreditation (Black,) one must be able to demonstrate bump skiing with weighted and unweighted releases. Also, be very well versed in "Skier Directed Ski Instruction." And HSS likes to keep the class size down to 5-6 people. I am not going to get into the techicalities, only that most Level III instructors do not qualify first time out. They usually qualify as "Blue." As there are few qualified people to draw from, finding a replacement for Rich is tough.

Finding ski schools that are unaffiliated with PSIA is pretty rare. SolVista is one that is PMTS. Teaching beginners is much easier with the dynamic movements of the foundation stepping turns. That coupled with almost flat terrain, fear is eliminated. Once up on the beginner hill, we never put the students into the fall line until 2 hours into the lesson. And then only if they are ready. So as a teaching system for beginners, I support it. I have had classes up to 15 on holiday weekends. It is very easy to have them moving around easy green runs after a 2 1/2 hour lesson.

The bottom line here is, I don't think HSS is flat on growth. My guess is they are growing 5-7% a year. I ma not defending HHS. I am pointing out that HH developed a teaching system that works and that his company is growing.

Rick H
post #36 of 212
Formulating a marketing proposal to present to Harald?
post #37 of 212
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick
HT, just what is your objective with this thread? Why the personal interest in new skier return rates and maximizing customer value? You thinking of pursuing a ski resort management position? Considering a hostile takeover of Harb Inc.?
I've been thinking that the real innovator is rarely the successful implementer in business. This has been true in many areas (I am most familiar with high tech), and may be here, as well. One of the reason is that the true innovator most often won't compromise. As a result, they never earn the market that they otherwise would. Usually, along come others less idealistic who are willing to move in a more "friendly" way. They usually win. With marketing...
post #38 of 212
Thread Starter 

Well...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick
HT, just what is your objective with this thread? Why the personal interest in new skier return rates and maximizing customer value? You thinking of pursuing a ski resort management position? Considering a hostile takeover of Harb Inc.?
Rick:

I've written so much in the last few hours I can't remember every detail I've posted! But, yours is a fair question.

I will ocnfess. I cannot help but look for opportunities to make things better in whatever markets. It's my background in economics (studying industrial organization; that is, why there are the "Big 3" auto companies and zillions of wheat farmers), plus my business background in turnarounds on tech companies.

Practically, I am far more interested in figuring out how great teaching can be used as leverage (John Mason alluded to this above) to increase the overall revenues of the ski industry. Those levers are powerful. Move the new skier retention from the currently reported 17% to 18% and that means major top-line, and probably bottom-line, increases across the board.

If the retention could be doubled from 1 in 6 to 2 in 6...what would that be worth? To resorts...ski rentals...ski sales...lodging and food sales...clothing and accessories sales...airline travel and car rentals...

That could be valuable to me, no?!
post #39 of 212
Thread Starter 

Well...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick
HT, just what is your objective with this thread? Why the personal interest in new skier return rates and maximizing customer value? You thinking of pursuing a ski resort management position? Considering a hostile takeover of Harb Inc.?
Rick:

I've written so much in the last few hours I can't remember every detail I've posted! But, yours is a fair question.

I will confess. I cannot help but look for opportunities to make things better in whatever markets. It's my background in economics (studying industrial organization; that is, why there are the "Big 3" auto companies and zillions of wheat farmers), plus my business background in turnarounds on tech companies.

Practically, I am far more interested in figuring out how great teaching can be used as leverage (John Mason alluded to this above) to increase the overall revenues of the ski industry. Those levers are powerful. Move the new skier retention from the currently reported 17% to 18% and that means major top-line, and probably bottom-line, increases across the board.

If the retention could be doubled from 1 in 6 to 2 in 6...what would that be worth? To resorts...ski rentals...ski sales...lodging and food sales...clothing and accessories sales...airline travel and car rentals...

That could be valuable to me, no?! Can it be done? Who knows?
post #40 of 212

buzzzz

5 to 10 percent - not quite

Like I said - ask on realskiers
post #41 of 212
Thread Starter 

Bingo!

BINGO, ssh!

YOU have hit the nail on the proverbial head! If you're in tech, you see examples of this, well, at least as often as the technological capacity doubles, right?!


Quote:
Originally Posted by ssh
I've been thinking that the real innovator is rarely the successful implementer in business. This has been true in many areas (I am most familiar with high tech), and may be here, as well. One of the reason is that the true innovator most often won't compromise. As a result, they never earn the market that they otherwise would. Usually, along come others less idealistic who are willing to move in a more "friendly" way. They usually win. With marketing...
post #42 of 212

Harald Open For Suggestions?

Probably. Providing it does not come in the form of critisizm. Remember, he has had people lambasting his system for longer than ten years and he is pretty defensive. My suggestion would be to write him a hand-written letter to his PO box, outlining your input.

The other option is to try to take a private with him.

I have found that the system worked for me as an instructor.

Rick H
post #43 of 212
Quote:
Originally Posted by HarvardTiger
BINGO, ssh!

YOU have hit the nail on the proverbial head! If you're in tech, you see examples of this, well, at least as often as the technological capacity doubles, right?!
At least that often. As an "old timer" in Internet terms (first Internet use in 1983), I have seen a lot of change and watched the ones who have been successful--sometimes with disgust.

That said, I have been asking similar questions here for a while, although not centered in HSS. Instead, I've been asking about the skier retention numbers and trying to understand what's really going on there. I think a relatively low percentage of skiers ever take a lesson (witness your friends). Why is that? In other sports (golf, tennis), folks often try it first, get hooked, and then head for lessons. And there are all kinds of places to get those lessons and they cater to a wide range of skills.

This is just emerging in skiing, with HSS, Eski's X-treme clinics, our own ESA, and so on. But, they do not seem to have really caught on. Why is that?

I have some thoughts, but I don't want to hijack your thread. I'd love to discuss this at length, though. It's a key area of thought that I've had since I Googled to this site late in 2003 when I was looking for boots!
post #44 of 212

two prime areas for growth

1. increase skier retention rates
2. ski schools busy with more than just beginners
post #45 of 212
Quote:
Originally Posted by skier_j
I'll take a stab at it, HT.

Are you suggesting by "lack of growth", lack of presence in ski schools around the country?

At the moment, the program does not lend itself to the masses of first time skiers trying to stand up on ski's---maybe it is not intended to.

Right now, HH operates from a single location (essentially, Dumont Co.).

In order to get the most from his methodology, you need to devote way more time, energy and money into his program than the typical "never ever" would ever be willing to spend.

The keys are not necessarily specific to his program, but they are stressed a great deal.

You MUST be aligned
You MUST work on balance
You MUST work on ski related fitness and
You MUST do the drills

None of these things are PMTS specific.

In a one hour lesson, or even a full day private with a rank beginner, how much of the above can you get through?

Just my .02!!
I'd add you must be CAPABLE of working on their (limited) balance progression.... Remember Diana was incapable of adapting to my needs.... My guess would be that those whose balance/proprioception is in the lower end of normal spectrum would find PMTS tricky - it seems aimed at the more naturally athletic rather than the whole spectrum of normal abilities
post #46 of 212

Just A Thought

Quote:
Originally Posted by SkiMangoJazz
Hi HT,

My $.02 as well. There is great animosity by PSIA against Harold. When I mentioned on a lesson that I had read his book and learned from it the Instructor jokingly called me the "Harby" for the next hour or so.

Harb is very critical of PSIA and they don't like it - you can't blame them either since his approach is "I can make ANYONE an expert skier - their way is WRONG and INEFFECTIVE" (paraphrase, not quote.)

I think if he was less critical and didn't claim to be the be-all of ski instruction there would be more acceptance of his methodology, at least as an alternative and/or as a source of some good information. By saying his way is THE way, it's kind of like "there is only one way to heaven."

So any lack of acceptance you see of his system may be self-created by his marketing.
I have met & skied with HH & overall he is a pretty likeable person & very knowledgeable. However, his need to rip the hand that use to feed him, I assume everyone is aware HH was part of the National PSIA Team, does not escape me or other members. There is no need to go further with the entire story of the whys and where for, except to say leaving was the best for him, PMTS was born again, and the team. I find no reason to publicly discredit a competitor & I would only hope my competition would show me the same courtesy.

I jumped to the PMTS website & did not find the courtesy the same. I teach a product; it happens to be in a box marked PSIA, which this year is about 42 years old. That in it self may say something for the product; and it has changed an evolved tremendously over those 42 years. If my product is not good enough, the market will be the judge and part of that market is not just customers I teach but the snowsports industry as a whole i.e. insurance underwriters, equipment manufactures, and snowsports areas to name a few other parts of the market. This product is a very flexible product we have to mold to the needs of the market place whether it is a 200 foot vertical or a 1,200 foot vertical snowsports area.

When I read comments to the contrary concerning flexibility of our product, I immediately know I am reading something from an person who really does not either, (a) understand, or (b) know the product, or (c) they speak from what others may have told them, or (d) simply had a very bad lesson. As with any product, my product is presented by people who, we would hope, are knowledgeable and the very best at what they do. Unfortunately, people being people; they do vary in degrees of ability, presentation, or personalities that may not “click” with the customer they are introduced to. It happens, it is a fact, and we need to deal with this the best we can. Maybe sometimes we need to give a free product to resolve the conflict.

Discrediting my competition does not improve my product and only degrades my standing in the community. HH has some very good ideas and I borrow all I can; after all the formulation started long before PMTS. The Austrians, French, Italians, Japanese, Swiss, & etc. also have some very good ideas I borrow for my product. This is why my product is “Stepping Stones” to skiing & snowboarding. My product is flexible, alive, ever changing, and it is called, for the want a better term, American Snowsports Education Association made up of AASSI & PSIA.
post #47 of 212
Very nicely written John. My fiance is a PSIA Level I and I spend a lot of time with PSIA Instructors at the hill she teaches at. As you say there is a: a lot of variation between them b: flexibility in the system and c: some acceptance of some of the PMTS methods.

As a student of the sport (52 years old and barely a level 8 after 16 years!) it is difficult for me to know what to do at times. Wide stance, narrow stance; lead by tipping the inside foot first, or with the outside foot first; more one-footed or more two-footed.

I try it all and see what works. My first reading (I read a lot of instruction books too) were Lito's and thus became a one-footed skier for years, in the last year or two I've started really weighting my inside foot a lot and it's helped. My stance has narrowed to shoulder width since my early days, but I don't try to bring them together as PMTS says to.

The big thing I'm trying to decide on now is the difference between initiating a turn by unweighting the downhill ski and tipping the uphill one (as PMTS says to) or by tipping the downhill ski and having the uphill one follow (as Tom Burch - PSIA taught me.) They both work, but ya' can't do 'em both at once More experimenting to see what works for me is in order.

Funny I've gone through this over the years with nutrition, with all the changing, developing and at times conflicting information on fats, carbs, vitamin supplements and so on. Fortunately I've always had a strong BS detector and an ability to take tons of advice and then just do whatever I feel like.

As to PMTS and PSIA all I can say is "why can't we all just get along?"

Cheers,
Steve
post #48 of 212
>>>My stance has narrowed to shoulder width since my early days, but I don't try to bring them together as PMTS says to.<<<

Just a quick asides. In the ski school in our areas, which has a handfull of examiners, trainers, et al., it is emphasized to have a confortable, or natural stance. Which means don't force it, either to widen it or to narrow it. My take on widening the stance taught by PSIA was to get the skiers who skied the old way of having the legs clamped to each other to let the stance get natural and have independent leg action and better balance. Unfortunately that was interpreted by many to mean one had to have 18 inches between skis which for most is not comfortable. Having to concentrate on the stance width is unecessary, let it fall where it may.

...Ott
post #49 of 212
John Mason: PMTS actually works through and teaches many styles of release.
These are (for the technically minded and in the order taught

Two Footed
Super Phantom
Weighted Release


Surprise, surprise. Over the years HH has relaxed his PMTS to include just about everything except rotary movements (it has become a challenge to tell the difference between PMTS and PSIA).

And in the recent post on "What is an expert" I can see that he also made it clear that 99.9% of skiers will never be real experts - no surprise there for me!

So if anyone thinks that PMTS is the answer to retention or any other magic bullet, stop kidding yourselves!
post #50 of 212
I was experimenting a little bit Sunday with Phantom Edging and results and sensations . Its interesting to me that intentionally weighting the new downhill ski versus tipping the old down hill ski (resulting in all your weight now on the uphill ski) which I would think is essentially the same movement pattern feels very different. The edge angle achieved with the downhill ski is a function of the degree of tipping of the phantom foot to me is also a biomechanical surprise. It seems to work, however I feel more solid on my skis intentionally weighting my new downhill ski early up in the turn and establishng the edge angle I want with that ski. Different strokes for different folks I guess.

I also believe whether I'm correct or not is a different story that it is more difficult for a person that is "thin" hipped to ski in a wide stance versus someone that is broader in the hips. This might be utter BS but its an opinion I have. I just got the book Skiing and The Art of Carving by Ellen Post Foster.

I think its a good book for the skiing library but it is a little equipment dated. I was published at the same time the first phase of shaped skis were coming out. With the advent of shorty slaloms and Metrons etc, technique has evolved a bit to fit the newer equipment. Its a good book with very good explanations and photos .

I think skiing maybe analogous to golf in the way there are many different golf swings yielding excellent results. I believe there are a variety of ways to turn a pair of skis that yield comparable results as well. Personally I strive to carve my turns as well as I can , and I am very interested in ski technique that can produce the best carved turns. As a result, its more than likely that ski racing technique produces the best carved turns and you can't be too far off course if you try and incorporate what the racers are doing into your own skiing. I like the Al Hobart Carving tape and the gorilla turns. I thought it was pretty much one guy's technique until the breakdown off World Cup racers doing the same turn.
post #51 of 212

PMTS for Everyone

Quote:
Originally Posted by TomB
John Mason: PMTS actually works through and teaches many styles of release.
These are (for the technically minded and in the order taught

Two Footed
Super Phantom
Weighted Release


Surprise, surprise. Over the years HH has relaxed his PMTS to include just about everything except rotary movements (it has become a challenge to tell the difference between PMTS and PSIA).

And in the recent post on "What is an expert" I can see that he also made it clear that 99.9% of skiers will never be real experts - no surprise there for me!

So if anyone thinks that PMTS is the answer to retention or any other magic bullet, stop kidding yourselves!
Tom B,

The concepts of PMTS, ie, no rotary, is just what the doctor ordered when one has bad knees or hips. I had my left hip replaced in 1996. Both of my knees should have been replaced 15 years ago. I decided to slow down this year from the 100+ day a year. I have 25 days so far. None of this could not have been done using rotary movements. Tipping works just fine. I had to learn all over again. It was different. But I keep on skiing. If it were not for PMTS, I would have quit 7 years ago. When my ortho asks me when I am going to get the replacement knees, I say when I can keep skiing!

The bottom line is PMTS has its place to help people ski more effectively and efficiently. For those of us who want to ski without a lot of pain, it is worth the effort.

Rick H
post #52 of 212
Rick H,

I agree with you on that point. But I am not sure it is PMTS that's responsible for this. I would argue that it is your dilligent attention to avoid gross rotary movements. I also avoid rotary when taking easy and cruising around. But some of my skiing is very dynamic with lots of short turns where rotary is needed.

Speaking of rotary, I was watching a recent WC race (Alta Badia) and the run was so tight and icy, that rotary movements were essential. Not only that, but most of the carves were two-footed, because skiers did not have the strength to keep it to the outside foot due to the constant chattering and G forces. So much for PMTS and one-footed carves on ice.

As Rick (Fastman) said before, following the PMTS mantra simply does not make sense in all cases. I wonder what kind of explanation would HH give me if I showed him the Alta Badia race in slow motion. He would probably tell me that most of those racers are not experts, right?
post #53 of 212
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Mason
1. increase skier retention rates
2. ski schools busy with more than just beginners
WTF does "skier growth" have to do with ANYTHING?

get your "progress"-obsessed ideas out of here. we don't need "growth"

what kind of moron thinks that "growth" solves things?
post #54 of 212
Quote:
Originally Posted by gonzostrike
what kind of moron thinks that "growth" solves things?
Ones with shares to sell.

Seriously, though, I find all of the Growth stuff interesting. Do we really want the ski industry to grow? Would it help ski instructors' pay? Probably not. Will it add more congestion to the drive to the hill and add to the price of a lift ticket? Yup. I went to the local ski area on Sunday (90 minutes from Baltimore and Wash DC), and never waited behind more than about 4-5 people in line. Why would I want it to be more crowded?

The only advantage I can see (okay, not really, but I'm playing the pessimist), is that if there was enough of a market for it, maybe in 20-70 years someone will invent some sort of synthetic snow that is cheap, never melts and skis like Wasatch pow.
post #55 of 212
Thread Starter 

Me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gonzostrike
WTF does "skier growth" have to do with ANYTHING?

get your "progress"-obsessed ideas out of here. we don't need "growth"

what kind of moron thinks that "growth" solves things?
This kind of moron.

I guess I should tell my sons that I can't ever take them skiing...and I should leave the three good friends who are so excited about going with us on our yearly ski trip behind, huh? After all, adding my boys and best friends to the roles of skiers does represent growth, does it not?

Come on. Don't fall into those Malthusian, zero-sum game lies. Markets don't work like that.

Back to topic: Confirming the lack of growth of skiing (gonzostrike, you'll like that) over the past years, and if HHS is such a superior approach, why is HHS not growing within the skiing community?

Also, and this follows from suggestion in the above posts, what is the role and influence of PSIA in relation to ski resort operators?
post #56 of 212
Better fitting rental boots. That is the key to skier retention rates.

People don't come back to skiing because it makes their feet and legs hurt.
post #57 of 212
Thread Starter 

Good questions...

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnH
Ones with shares to sell.
Which can benefit you and me!

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnH
Seriously, though, I find all of the Growth stuff interesting. Do we really want the ski industry to grow? Would it help ski instructors' pay? Probably not. Will it add more congestion to the drive to the hill and add to the price of a lift ticket? Yup. I went to the local ski area on Sunday (90 minutes from Baltimore and Wash DC), and never waited behind more than about 4-5 people in line. Why would I want it to be more crowded?
If it doesn't grow, it dies. Then, no one benefits.

Would it help ski instructors' pay? Yes. If it grows. If it doesn't grow, the competition becomes commodity-like as rival resorts compete for a shrinking market. That means price competition. Which means your pay suffers if you are a resort employee. Just ask any airline worker.
post #58 of 212
your sons taking up skiing does not automatically mean growth. according to you growth mavens, the problem is skier LOSS. so 3 new skiers isn't growth, is it?

you really have to twist reality to believe we must have "growth" in skiing in order to have skiing at all. you have to ignore the reality of how skiing has existed in the USA. and you have to REALLY ignore the bitterest reality of all, which is that ski areas in the USA have turned away from skiing and toward real estate as their core business. you want to know what happens then? skier loss.

jeezus, the way people ignore reality is frustrating to me! :

Quote:
Originally Posted by HarvardTiger
This kind of moron.

I guess I should tell my sons that I can't ever take them skiing...and I should leave the three good friends who are so excited about going with us on our yearly ski trip behind, huh? After all, adding my boys and best friends to the roles of skiers does represent growth, does it not?

Come on. Don't fall into those Malthusian, zero-sum game lies. Markets don't work like that.

Back to topic: Confirming the lack of growth of skiing (gonzostrike, you'll like that) over the past years, and if HHS is such a superior approach, why is HHS not growing within the skiing community?

Also, and this follows from suggestion in the above posts, what is the role and influence of PSIA in relation to ski resort operators?
post #59 of 212
Quote:
Originally Posted by HarvardTiger
If it doesn't grow, the competition becomes commodity-like as rival resorts compete for a shrinking market. That means price competition. Which means your pay suffers if you are a resort employee. Just ask any airline worker.
airline worker pay reduction/stagnation is NOT because of competition, but rather, because of steady high inflation of executive salaries and perks.

or at least that's the story I receive from a friend who flies for Delta.
post #60 of 212
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by gonzostrike
airline worker pay reduction/stagnation is NOT because of competition, but rather, because of steady high inflation of executive salaries and perks.

or at least that's the story I receive from a friend who flies for Delta.
I really don't think we'll solve anything at all from an economics discussion here...but I would solidly disagree that executive pay is bringing down the airlines.

I guess the fact that thousands of pilots making well over six-figures and working three or four days a week (compared to the typical sixty-hour weeks for execs), the steady decline of ticket prices over years, the steady increase of airline fuel costs and union job salaries, have nothing to do with it, huh?

Just checking the numbers for Delta (public company; the numbers are available online) and found this to be interesting: Given their current cost structure (gas, pilot and worker pay, debt service, etc), if you fired all the top executives (CEO's and senior VP's), Delta would save enough money to continue operations for another whopping hour and twenty-two minutes.

Yeah, it's executive pay that's ruining our country.

As for the growth model, name for me a market where growth just ruined everything?

I agree that real estate is the driving profit force in skiing. There is a resort in Pennsylvania that is suffering because when the skiing mountain was donated to the state by the Mellon family, it was with the condition that no condos or lodging could be built on the mountain. The skiing mountain was not open last year and is in receivership. Tough situation. Those who have been trying to keep that resort going--including the employees--would love a little skier growth right about now!

The spookiest thing to me about "real estate growth" vs. "skier growth" is that the people who buy the real estate but who do not ski could eventually push out the skiers. I've seen similar happen along the shorelines of California at some of the best surf breaks (Palos Verdes comes to mind).

I'm for skier growth. Then skiers create the demand and, thus, have real influence over the market.
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