Well, thanks for the cage match invite Nolo and Rick H.
, but it looks as though in my New Years absence RicB, Rusty and TomB have been filling in for me quite well.
First, I want to compliment you, Arc, on a very sapient post. I very much concur with your belief in examining and evaluating new ideas (or old ideas new to the examiner) with wide eyes and an open mind in the interest of cherry picking those which carry value and help to move us toward our goals, and discarding those which do not. In fact, I've been extremely vocal in my advocacy of that philosophy in many past posts here on Epicski, just as I have in this current topic.
It's that very desire to explore that brought me to this topic. Harald who? Hell, up until I started participating on this forum I never heard of PMTS. I started teaching skiing in Europe in 1978, toward the end of my racing career. That teaching was conducted within the structure of the old Austrian teaching method. From there I headed back to the states and went right into coaching racing, creating and directing training programs in both the East and the Rockies.
VailSnoPro is right, PMTS is just a relatively insignificant blip on the radar screen of ski instruction, and its existence is not widely recognized outside of Colorado. There are a multitude of high level instructional programs being conducted around the country, and around the world, that consistently transform young neophyte skiers into serious athletes who ascend to very high ability levels in the sport, some to a world stage. It is from that world that I come, and from that place of experience and knowledge which I judge what I see.
As I don't have a thorough knowledge of all the intricacies of Harb's program beyond what I've been able to garner through a limited online inspection I'm obviously in no position to make as informed an evaluation on detailed aspects of the program as you Arc, and I defer to you on that, but I have learned enough about it from Harald's own writings to formulate some opinions and hypotheses. I'll share them:*CARVING
Harb's program seems to place supreme importance on carving. That's great, but the question that comes to mind is; who isn't?
I mean after all, we're in the day of the shape ski and everyone wants to carve, so everyone's teaching carving. Nothing ground breaking here.
Harb does emphasize the total elimination of steering from a pure carved turn, and I applaud that. Probably the biggest flaw in the attempts at carving displayed by recreational skiers is the tendency to supplement the direction change in a carved turns with a degree of steering. The process of eliminating steering, and learning to depend fully on the innate mechanical properties of the ski to produce a desired turn shape, is for many a major hurdle to overcome on their way to developing a high quality carved turn.
Problem is that, again, this is not cutting edge stuff. Ski racing training programs have been on this same steering elimination quest forever,,,,, well,,,,, at least the 40 years I've been involved in it.
But what about PSIA? Is there something here that differs from their philosophy? Does PSIA claim rotary turning of the skis is an element of a pure carved turn? I haven't really heard them say that, but I'll leave that debate to the PSIA guys.
I have seen some people jumble the word carve and come up with term "scarve". I've tried my best here in this forum to discourage the usage of a derivative of the word "carve" to describe something that has an element of steering in it because of the potential confusion it can cause. So far to no avail.STANCE WIDTH:
While many suggest that Harb advocates a narrow stance, from reading his own words I see him advocating a stance that varies in foot width as dictated by the turn shape and edge angle. I agree with this. He also seems to refer to stance width as measured by the space between the legs, not the feet. This could be the cause of some of the confusion.TRANSITIONS:
From what I’m learning about PMTS they do acknowledge and train more than one type of turn transition. That’s good. Though they do condemn any transition that is anything but some form of carve to carve. That’s bad.DIRECT TO PARALLEL:
I find eliminating the wedge an interesting concept, but I'm going to need more convincing. So far I don't see the benefits of eliminating the wedge from the progression being that great. Rather, I see potential problems.
I've found the wedge to provide a very secure platform to introduce new skiers to a wide range of foundational skill areas. From this stable and reassuring position skiers can experiment with balance, steering, edging, flexion/extension, rotation, turn shape, transitions; all in a very confidence inspiring environment. If anything, I think the wedge is moved out of too quickly, without exploiting all the learning potential it provides.
I just don't see, from an idealist perspective, the long term payoff of skipping it. Parallel skiing is not a big deal. Carving is not a big deal. The skills that make it possible to perform them at a high level are a big deal. If these skills are developed properly, parallel skiing and carving are no brainers, they just happen, no sweat.
Really, how important is the minor amount of time spent introducing foundational skills in a wedge when viewed in comparison to the many years we hope our students will go on enjoy proficiency in the sport? From a marketing perspective, perhaps it's of great importance.NO ROTARY,,,,, PERIOD!:
All right, this is where any debate would degenerate from a rational discussion to idiocy. Harald has unequivocally denied rotary as a turning force is an element of upper level skiing. I've said my piece on this, numerous times, and none of the PMST fellows here have attempted to respond in defense of Harb stated opinion on this. Of course not; there is no defense because Harb's assertion is wrong. TomB knows that, Rusty knows that, RicB and Nolo know, and yes, Arc, you know too. Thus the quiet on the question.
In evaluating the merit of Harb's program this is one of the elements that should be discarded by all. Buying into this rubbish will do nothing but delay ones coming to understand the technical elements of upper level skiing. Promotion of such a stupid notion constitutes a grave public disserve. I'm sure Harb knows this is wrong, and is only promoting this idea in an attempt to differentiate himself from PSIA and sell his product. This (what must be) intentional dispersal of misinformation has by itself fostered in me a degree of disrespect for Harald Harb.ANYONE CAN BE AN EXPERT:
More marketing hype that Harb later changes to suggest that only freakishly gifted human specimens can be experts. Between this and the Rotary thing I find it very hard to take this guy seriously.
Arc, what does this program offer as ground breaking and new besides the elimination of the wedge? What have you really taken from this that has added to you skills as a ski instructor? What have you learned technically that you didn't know before? I'm always on the prowl looking for such treasures, but I haven't found any paydirt here yet.