Originally Posted by therusty
That "conversation" article is very artfully crafted to sound authoratative to anyone who has been disaffected by their ski school experience and painfully nauseating to those with the background knowledge of how ski schools really work. When my first emotional reaction to something comes out as a multi syllabic statement not fit for a family environment, it's a sign that I need to chill and seek out the positives instead. Per your wonderful book, one can find positives almost anywhere if one wants to. It's when I remember the rare instances of the worst moments I've encountered as an instructor (including some whoppers of my own) and use them as proof of what all instruction is like that I can read articles like that one and go "yeah - that would be the way I'd fix that problem". Wearing the other shoes for a moment makes it easier to imagine that you can see the good side of the story whether there is one or not. It's possible it could be true. So I choose to publicly hope that it is and offer a path to get there. I may be naive and there are times when my temper gets the better of me, but I prefer to let people have the opportunity to prove the story is good, especially when they are fixing to start a fight instead. It's a lot less costly than engaging in a fight that does not need to be fought. If the story is bad, it won't need any help to end badly. There's probably an "Art of War" parable to cover this. Maybe something like "Don't use a wedge to break things apart when you can carve a path to link the two sides together"?
I think your attitude is terrific, and I wish I could maintain that approach more often.
And, yeah, we all make bonehead decisions and statements occasionally that could be used anecdotally to prove that the whole system is failing.
My concern about the article is that it seems entirely directed this way--to prove the point of failure. And I just think we should be aware of that intention. Lito, who I consider to be a friend and a gentleman, told me directly that the way to make a brand work is to differentiate from PSIA. And he is very sincere in his belief that PSIA does not create experts, but rather it creates better intermediates by its design. What's missing is that PSIA is not a system. It's a clearing house of information about teaching and skiing possibilities. It's up to the instructors and the schools to choose how to use those effectively, efficiently and appropriately. (I've lately been reading a piece by Bill Lash, one of the early PSIA founders who quotes Paul Valar, his colleague as being very clear on this last point. Flexibility of application and methodological creativity were encouraged. Apparently it was the press and in the application that the old final forms became ridid.)
Lito, by the way, was very open-minded working with our pros in Aspen and allowed their own creativity to work alongside of his system.
Yet, Lito believes, I think, that if you transfer to the outside ski before the turn, that everything will just happen as it should. I don't believe that, although it CAN happen that way.
On direct parallel. Yes it works. And it can work within many different systems and age groups. One thing that Harb told me when the first k2 4's came out: The wedge christy is now obsolete and will disappear. I wouldn't have argued with that, because I thought that might have been a reasonable possibility at the time. Now reality has reared it's ugly head and the WC has not disappeared. Harb would argue that this is because of PSIA's institutional rigidity and stagnation (or worse.) I would argue instead that there is still a powerful use given the cultural, social, physical, and motivational environment within the world of people learning to ski. I would also argue that the WC has gotten to be a better tool than it used to be for the speed transition as people move into parallel skiing.
Nevertheless, I still prefer direct to parallel.
Fun stuff. Thanks for your optimism and good will.