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A quote from Holiday

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Holiday
...
Yes, Austrians know how to ski. I taught in Erhwald, Autria for a season and studied with the Staatlich. That is thrown out as the "be all end all" of instruction and I disagree. I think it's almost a communist version of ski instruction. In spending quality time over there (I taught in Switzerland as well for awhile), I've seen some great skiers, but no one I'd like to emulate.
How many Austrians have won world extreme skiing championships? Did any of the staatlich make me want to follow them off piste with the relaxation and playfulness of Eski. No.

Are they great, Yes. Is there one right anwer to the best way to play on the snow? I don't think so. There are so many variables: speed threshold, terrain comfort, flexiblity, age... that determine intent and as has been said so many times... that dictates the ideal technique and tactics.

I'm no amazing skier, starting at 18, but as a study with a level 3 psia, Eski all mountain ski pros cert and quality austrian and swiss coaching, I think I've seen quite a gamut of play...

...

Cheers,

Wade
Hi Wade,
You touch on an important concept that I strongly relate to. My experience and observations (limited, for sure) suggests to me that most (some?, many?) ski teaching environments are limited in their ability to expose people to joy of the turn, the payfullness you talk about, and the expression of oneself through skis on snow terrain. I have a friend in JH who is a peer of Eski's. Skiing with him is better than any amusement park ride - all the fun and excitement with the added opportunity of creating your own ride as you go while throwing in as much thrill as you care to handle. Perhaps it is this creativity that I find missing in most (some?, many?) ski instruction environemnts.

I have observed and/or skied with a number of fine skiers, including past Demo Team members, Worl Cup racers, Freestyle skiers, top instructors, etc. However, the skiers that I find to be most exciting to watch and whom I would like to emulate are all freesksiers. (I'm not saying that I admire all freeskiers to this extent). Yes, many of them came from a racing background but they have taken that only as a basis to open up a huge world of expression through skiing.

I am very grateful for my exposure to PMTS. It was a big factor in my finding improved balance on skis. I am even more grateful to all of the great skiers who have let me hang with them. Now, I am much more interested in using these skills and experiences as a base to explore an ever expanding world of expression on skis. Of course this exploration also leads to continued improvement in my skiing abilities but I think this is now secondary for me.

BTW, none of this is meant to imply my having achieved any particular level of skill in skiing. Like you I started late, a little skiing in college and then a second start at 40. Nevertheless, I think I am now skiing better and getting more satisfaction from skiing than ever before.
post #2 of 20
So much for disski's beloved Austrian staatlich.

So then what is so special about Staatlich? Anyone know how it is fundamentally different than PSIA concepts?
post #3 of 20
If you have two years of college degree in skiing and physical education you may apply for the federal examin (sttaatliche pruefung). If not you may apply but probably will not pass. Europeans as a whole are more like HH in regimen B follows A and goes on to C. So the relaxed Americans who take lessons there are after fun while the instructor is after the business of teaching. I heard from friends that their instructor didn't smile once and did not engage in any exchange of words that didn't pertain to ski teaching, it's a serious business over there...

....Ott
post #4 of 20
Thread Starter 
Sorry,

I posted my original quote by accident before making my intended comments. My comments are now added in the original post.
post #5 of 20
Thanks Ott for the information. It does sound like Sttaatliche is a little like PMTS in its strict approach and focus.

Personally I think ski instruction should be fun when given to your average Joe/Jane who is looking for a little improvement. If you are out to be a ski pro or a racer, then strict instruction and coaching is a must, of course.
post #6 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by TomB
It does sound like Sttaatliche is a little like PMTS in its strict approach and focus.
I agree with you Tom, it does. Of course that could be good for someone who needs/injoys such a focus. I'm with you on the "fun" factor though. It's hard to work at something you don't enjoy.

FWIW, I didn't interpret Wade's comment as a swipe as any form of instruction, but rather as a point that they all have their pluses/minuses and their place in the sport. In sports, as in life, there are always going to be alternative views as to how things should be done.

As the student I say be stingy. Take from each what works for you and leave the other things behind.
post #7 of 20
Sorry Si - but the staatlich I ski with mainly are completely FUN...

They just have enough science behind their teaching to be able to really understand what they are teaching & explain it.... very adaptable as teachers....

We skied over the bushes this season.... like straight over the top of them.... Ant had done a few seasons in USA & trained with some of your good guys - she thought it was a joke when the instructor said "we ski over that way" (no snow in that direction).... but no - he teaches us bush skiing as well (says it scrapes the dirt off the ski bottoms so they run better in the slush when you find it again too)....

Both ant & I are reasonably serious - he managed to have both of us laughing like idiots skiing down from the last lesson of the season....

That whole description Ott had may apply to many austrians - but even then many have a good sense of humour when you get to know them .... they just are expected to teach seriously - it is a more european idea of a lesson I guess.... when I have had lessons with them they are quite funny if you get them going...

Also not all staatlich are austrian - my 2 regulars are aussies - with staatlich qualifications....

Then again what would I know about what sort of teachers are fun.... I have only had about 300-400 private lessons ...maybe a few more group ones....
post #8 of 20
Thread Starter 
Sorry Disski, I wasn't exactly talking about fun in reference to ski instruction. I would think most any instructor of value would make instruction fun. I was talking about opening up the doors of skiing as a medium for personal expression. While that is fun I believe it's also a whole lot more. What I intepret Holiday's post to be talking about is that ability to help people learn how to express themselves on skis.
post #9 of 20
personal expression - pretty hard to express oneself with a limited repertoire..... none of the staatlich I know have a limited repertoire - they can all do pretty much whatever they want on skis....

the first one I ever skied with used to run around being silly around me on skis - it was like they were just extensions of his feet.... THAT is playful to me....
Especially when you realise this guy was BIG & had a reputation for climbing up things & going "woop woop woop" very loudly when his junior racers were racing.... embarrassed the kids parents - but the kids loved it!

He was simply an awesome instructor - I would ski much more stuff with him than with anyone else - he never made it seem tricky... just go here... lets play this game.... He truely never seemed to be trying to ski - he just went wherever he wanted to however he wanted to
post #10 of 20
Thread Starter 
Sounds somewhat like what I was talking about.
post #11 of 20
I didn't mean to say that those Austrian instructors wouldn't make their classes fun, but as life long professionals they are serious to make sure you get your money's worth. Making a class a feel-good event isn't hard, the student may feel like they had a great time and made some nice turns but did they learn anything or much?

....Ott
post #12 of 20
yes Ott - that is what I meant by my comment that it is fine to "express self" but it helps to have the repertoire to express with.....

I am reminded of watching some guys who were doing some "modern dancing stuff".... the thing is that somewhere in there they wanted to do a spin..... my gym instructor & I were watching them.... she was a member of the Australian national Ballet before an accident to achilles tendon ended her professional dancing career....
Being her she had to try to teach them how to make the spin work better.... watching them show her the steps they wanted & then her show them a better way to get the spin going was an interesting thing.... her classical ballet training allowed her so much more ease performing their very street brand of dance moves - she simply had the background to make it easy to get her body to do the movements....

Also the staatlich guys see themselves very much as professionals in ski movement - so they are always working on those biomechanics etc .... very comprehensive background... great fun picking their brains

I find them all pretty much good value....
post #13 of 20
My friends in Lech and St. Anton have family members who are Staatlich but they are not only instructing skiing, that is for the Winter, in the off season and after hours in the ski season, they instruct tennis or soccer or are mountain guides or rock climbing instructors. Full time sports instructors can make enough money to buy a 'pension' or hotel to retire to when the body lets go, unsually after they are sixty or so and have toiled for some 40 years.

I presume it isn't that much different here, a phys ed graduate, especially with a higher degree, spends their life teaching some kind of sport but skiing doesn't pay enough here for them to bother going into it and college rarely has professors specializing in skiing, except in New England.

....Ott
post #14 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ott Gangl
I heard from friends that their instructor didn't smile once and did not engage in any exchange of words that didn't pertain to ski teaching, it's a serious business over there...

....Ott
Come on Ott, in all the years you taught skiing, you never had a bad day? I've taught enough lessons that there are a few where my students would have come out saying the exact same thing. Especially some of those level 1 classes with too many people, too late in the day, where you're so tired you couldn't crack a smile if you wanted to, and the thought of creating any extra words was just too tiring.

I think someone was mistaking a personality or single instance (a bad day) for an entire teaching system.
post #15 of 20
You are probably right, John H.

....Ott
post #16 of 20

thanks si

I didn't have much too add here, si.
good points....finding a coach that not only can improve your technique, but assists in allowing you to find your own unique version of interaction with the mountain is a great goal.

I hate to say it, but we are all not meant to look like a demo team member or the staatlich for that matter (not that we ever could).

Each and every skier has their own personality, with all the baggage that comes with that: ie; fear tolerance, speed threshold, acceptance (or not) of disconnectedness with the earth, bounciness (or not), playfullness (or steadfastness), and a million other variables. Once they've started to bring all the skills together that allow their personal versions of reality to play out on skis, things happen. All too often, I think people are pushed toward others version of what skiing is. They are pushed to look a certain way, or ski within certain parameters. Also all too often, I think these are dead ends and the person looses the chance to find their own passion around skiing.

I love to ski...
I've been down a few too many roads and have skiied so much that I've found a few realties that have made me smile.
In the last few years, my analogy has been my mountain bike.
I've often said that I have an ADD of sorts and need constant stimulous, and my bike riding illustrates that. I can't ride smooth trails and seek out interesting singletrack and technical riding (but not so interesting that serious injury is neccessary if I'm a bit off). The skiing that makes me smile it the same. I like to think ski areas that require thought and accuracy of line and speed. I often enjoy skiing them very slowly, with what I call my pinpoint tech, and try to make a tough line feel easy and fluid.

That said, enough about my focus. I just brought it up because I've found a few clients that enjoy my easy fluid version of skiing and it fits their version of the world. Maybe they like to watch some baddass rip a mogul field, but they can see enjoying that same field skiing it as I do. Hence, they call me for guiding and tutelage. You choose to follow your buddy in Jackson Hole since his bent on line and movement seems to make sense to you. I think finding you're own flow is key and within the ski instruction world, finding a coach that adjusts to your needs and doesn't try to sculpt you into some atomoton is too often missed. Many, even of the good ones, coaches see an image and try to mold the student into that. The student might not even know it, but that image may not fit their personal ideosychasies..

So, I'm not sure if that made any sense, but your post brought it out of me.
I hope you continue along your path and I know you have put a lot of energy into making sure it is the right one for you...

Cheers,

Wade
post #17 of 20
Yep Holiday - that is why I like the variety of backgrounds in my instructors.... not too fixated on a "model" or ideal.... because they have to agree with me to work towards what they can all agree is "better skiing" they cannot get too hung up on a particular look - but instead simply have to improve my skill set not how close to "ideal" i look....


Generally the guys I ski with for technical stuff have training in at least 2 different systems.... add to that nearly all are also disabled teachers as well & you get FLEXIBLE.... pretty much would sum up why they get me back - I don't take the ones that I dislike... I like the ones that can deal with the fact that I may have a few lessons with them & the same with a couple of others... throw in some "spares" for pushing my comfort envelope & mileage (they have to be fun & trustworthy)...
post #18 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by TomB
Thanks Ott for the information. It does sound like Sttaatliche is a little like PMTS in its strict approach and focus.

Personally I think ski instruction should be fun when given to your average Joe/Jane who is looking for a little improvement. If you are out to be a ski pro or a racer, then strict instruction and coaching is a must, of course.
When people ask me where my technique came from I reply "It was beaten into me by Austrian coaches"
post #19 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Holiday
... You choose to follow your buddy in Jackson Hole since his bent on line and movement seems to make sense to you. ...
Wade
Wade, just to clarify. It's not that his bent on line makes sense it's that it is something to be admired and appreciated. I'm not really capable of following him. We ski a run together and I get a glimpse of both a higher level of skiing and, something even more significant to me, a higher level of expression. It's that glimpse that is so motivating to try and find a higher level of expression for myself. It doesn't much involve skiing like him (as I am not capable) but rather freeing myself up to behave more like him on snow and finding new ways to express myself.
post #20 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by disski
yes Ott - that is what I meant by my comment that it is fine to "express self" but it helps to have the repertoire to express with.....
I've actually been thinking about this for a while before I responded. While it certainly helps to have a more developed repetoire to express oneself with, I don't think it is at all necessary. I think it is possible to start from day one on skis expressing yourself. My guess is that unfortunately, few instructional environments are open to this.

When young children express themselves with a vocabulary of few (if any) words, both we and the children revel in their abilities to communicate. With time they learn communication skills and (sometimes?) grow to communicate with more depth and richness. However, I doubt that the joy and satisfaction of expression can be much better as an adult orator than the first time a thought was communicated through words.

I recently switched about 3 months ago to left handed tennis due to right shoulder injuries. I am having a blast with it and continue to progress almost every day. However, none of the changes in my abilities to hit the ball are any better than the first day experimenting and exploring while hitting against a wall.
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