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PMTS vs PSIA -- no, seriously  

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
I'm not a troll. I'm just someone who's not the least bit familiar with ski instruction. I'd consider myself either a high intermediate or advanced skier. My wife is a sometimes timid intermediate, and my kids are enthusiastic beginners with completely different styles from one another.

My wife has expressed interest in some lessons, and while the kids have had some I'd like them to have more. And heck, I could certainly benefit from a lesson or two as well.

I wasn't a bit surprised when I started looking around for info and found there seems to be some contention in the ski instruction community. But, I'm having trouble trying to find some basic information on just wtf each method is, and what each has to offer.

Now, I dont' want to start a big p-ssing match of a thread...please? I guess what I'd like to know to start is a basic and resaonably objective description of each method of teaching, perhaps in some kind of point by point format. Not knowing a thing about either method, maybe that doesn't make sense.

Are we talking about two different ways of skiing -- sort of akin to old school vs new school in kayaking? Or is this just two different teaching methodologies?

Are there benefits of each? If so, are they mutually exclusive, or can someone blend the strong points of each methodology?

Would one of these be better suited for a younger or older skier?

I appreciate any non-emotional feedback anyone can provide. FYI, I did search to try to find this on my own, but coudn't dig through all the...snow...to get to anything concrete.

Thanks, billy
post #2 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by billyymc View Post
I guess what I'd like to know to start is a basic and resaonably objective description of each method of teaching
Kind of like a reasonably objective description of the world's major religions?

Quote:
Are we talking about two different ways of skiing -- sort of akin to old school vs new school in kayaking? Or is this just two different teaching methodologies?
I'll let wiser heads answer this. But at a very basic level PSIA is an organization that certifies instructors, and is not one single method of skiing per se. PMTS is a very specific method/technique of skiing.

Quote:
Are there benefits of each?
You'd think so, right?

Quote:
If so, are they mutually exclusive, or can someone blend the strong points of each methodology?
Yes according to some PSIA members, no according to some PMTS'ers.

Quote:
Would one of these be better suited for a younger or older skier?
Depends on the person.

For PSIA, go to any ski school and ask for a PSIA-certified instructor. It's helpful if you can get the same instructor on return visits.

For dedicated PMTS, try the PMTS forum at www.realskiers.com. One thing you can do is buy Harald's books (with DVDs), and try out the exercises on your own. That way you don't spend a lot of money to find out if it works for you or not. If PMTS does work for you (and for a lot of people it does), then take one of the PMTS camps (the books/videos will only take you so far).

Just my $0.02. Some PSIA and PMTS experts may well disagree with all my points, but there you are. Whatever you do, have fun!
post #3 of 6
One of the better answers to this was posted the other day by Bob Barnes.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Barnes/Colorado View Post
Lars, I appreciate the sentiment behind your post, but honestly, why do you do this? Your very posting of this thread serves no more than to perpetuate this silly and non-productive situation. There is no "us" and "them," assuming that EpicSki remains what it has always tried to be--an open forum for "all of us." If anyone is welcome to be part of EpicSki, then the very idea of "them" is an oxymoron.

And the whole PSIA vs. PMTS thing is a fabrication originated by Harald Harb to promote his programs (on that level, it's good marketing on his part). There is no debate. As long as you and anyone else continue to recognize it as a debate, or even as a discussion, you perpetuate a distortion of reality that serves no purpose whatsoever other than to degrade the quality of EpicSki--the very thing you decry in your initial post.

Comparing PMTS and PSIA is, as Pierre has suggested, like comparing "apples and softballs" (or something to that effect). It's an individual (Harb) vs. an organization (PSIA). It's a teaching progression (PMTS) vs. a teaching system (American Teaching System). It's a technique-based model (PMTS) vs. a skills-based model (Skills Concept), a mechanistic (based on particular movement patterns and preferences) model (PMTS) vs. a humanistic (individual needs-based) model (PSIA).

It is not a an argument about preferred techniques or progressions. There is a "PMTS technique"; there is not a "PSIA technique." There is a "PMTS progression"; there is not a PSIA progression. PMTS instructors are taught to administer a particular set of drills with a specific technical outcome. PSIA instructors learn to identify student motivations and needs and to create and tailor a unique, specific progression toward that end. PMTS students learn PMTS. PSIA instructors' students learn carving if they want to carve, zipperline bumps if they want zipperline bumps, rail slides, half pipe tricks, and skiing switch if they want freestyle, race techniques if they want to win races, and so on. (Yes, there are common threads, skills, and principles in all of these diverse skiing arenas, despite diverse applications, blends, and characteristics.) PMTS trains instructors to deliver a progression. PSIA trains you to develop one.

It could be a legitimate debate between Harb's PMTS and another particular ski school, led by another instructor/training manager (Keystone, for example, led by me). PMTS competes with the EpicSki Academy. It competes with NASTC, the Mahre Training Center, Ski Schools of Aspen, Keystone's Betty Fest, Snowbird's Steeps Camps, Deslaurier's X-Team camps, and any number of other branded programs around the world.

PMTS does not compete with PSIA, which is not a branded learning progression in any way and markets no programs to the public. PSIA helps provide an educational foundation for instructors to develop their own personal brands if they choose, or to work within any branded program (including PMTS, as evident from the fact that many PMTS instructors also hold PSIA certifications). PMTS, like most brands, promotes differentiation ("we're different, unique, better, etc."). PSIA, like most educational organizations, encourages learning, discussion, debate, and diversity (including the PMTS progression, when appropriate for the specific needs of a student). PMTS is exclusive, and promotes that fact loudly. PSIA is inclusive. PMTS is restrictive (only teach and only learn particular approved movements). PSIA is flexible (teach and learn any movements, including so-called "PMTS movements," as appropriate and as needed).

To suggest that PSIA and PMTS are in any way "competing instructor organizations," or "competing teaching systems," is absolutely silly. They can co-exist just fine without competing, just as easily as PSIA can co-exist with the Keystone Ski & Ride School. It would be ridiculous for me to say that Keystone "competes" with PSIA. Keystone certainly offers a unique, branded experience to skiers, just as PMTS does for its participants, and other schools and programs do for theirs, while PSIA provides valuable education and background to our instructors to help us all understand more, teach better, and ski better. Our instructors have varying backgrounds, including international race and coaching experience, various national instructor organization affiliations, and even a PMTS-trained instructor or two. All of this supports and adds to the Keystone brand. There is no competition!

Anyway, I am as tired of this pseudo-debate as you--probably moreso. So I have to ask again--why do you prolong it by starting yet another thread on this non-topic, Lars? Discuss skiing. Discuss teaching. Discuss your experiences with any ski school, instructor, or branded learning program. Leave the "us vs. them" "debate" for smaller minds.

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
I just can't believe you came in here with your first post and asked this question. :
Anyway, the question itself is flawed, and while the confusion is understandable, it shouldn't deter you from going to your choice of ski school or skiing camp, and obtaining qualified instruction from certified ski instructors. If you happen to find someone certified in PMTS (they are rare), you can make a choice at that point.
post #4 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by billyymc View Post
Now, I dont' want to start a big p-ssing match of a thread...please?
Sorry Billy,

But there have been several attempts to answer the questions you have asked. Because our community is now big enough to attract all types and the questions you have asked can only generate opinions for answers (mine included), sooner or later the thread devolves.

The latest and most complete answer from one end of the spectrum came from Bob Barnes (rats - Cirque beat me to it). I've yet to find a similar type of comprehensive comparison from the other end of the spectrum, but this one provides some hints and the PMTS online lesson provides some non-emotional hints. A common answer has been to buy the books and attend camps to find the answers. The bottom line here is that there are no concrete answers to your questions.
post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cirquerider View Post
One of the better answers to this was posted the other day by Bob Barnes.

I just can't believe you came in here with your first post and asked this question. :
Anyway, the question itself is flawed, and while the confusion is understandable, it shouldn't deter you from going to your choice of ski school or skiing camp, and obtaining qualified instruction from certified ski instructors. If you happen to find someone certified in PMTS (they are rare), you can make a choice at that point.
Cirque...yeah, I guess that was a real winner of a first question : ) But I'd been reading the forums for the past couple of weeks off and on, then read some of the stuff at realskier.com, and I just couldnt' really understand what was going on.

After re-reading the post from Bob Barnes (I'd read it once before, but by then my head was spinning), I understand what you mean about the question being flawed.

Thanks for the quick feedback -- faisasy, cirque, rusty. I think I get it, which for me is an accomplishment. Admins...please feel free to delete this post so it doesn't breakdown into chaos : )

On a sad note -- it's raining.
post #6 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by billyymc View Post
I wasn't a bit surprised when I started looking around for info and found there seems to be some contention in the ski instruction community. But, I'm having trouble trying to find some basic information on just wtf each method is, and what each has to offer.

Now, I dont' want to start a big p-ssing match of a thread...please? I guess what I'd like to know to start is a basic and resaonably objective description of each method of teaching, perhaps in some kind of point by point format. Not knowing a thing about either method, maybe that doesn't make sense.

Are we talking about two different ways of skiing -- sort of akin to old school vs new school in kayaking? Or is this just two different teaching methodologies?

Are there benefits of each? If so, are they mutually exclusive, or can someone blend the strong points of each methodology?
I'm not an expert, but alll I can say is that PSIA is great, and PMTS sucks. Or is it the other way around, I forget.
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