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...
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.