I also find Bob's discussion of neutral quite different than I thought of neutral. I had thought of neutral as a stalling on a flat ski during the edge change. I'll have to reread and rethink.
I also really like the animations, and am acutely aware (like most pros I've seen) from my teaching, how things change depending on student speed thresholds. I also like this broader discussion of a rotary skill.
Having said that, I think that many pros--especially long timers argue endlessly that the start of the turn should be a pretty strong steering, pivoting on a flat ski, and yes, I see them demonstrating it as a heel push.
On the other hand, I don't think that comes from their trainers. In answering Bob's question on the subject,
I do not teach twisting the skis forcefully at the beginning of the turn,
I do not advocate pushing the tails out at the beginning of the turn, and
I know of no teaching organization that does so.
I would add that I don't think I see any trainers doing it. To the contrary.
I think it happens a little out of laziness. The seasoned pro, knows he can get a short term happy result (change of direction, speed control through braking) for the student, and does not realize what a mistake he's teaching for the future.
At ALL levels, it seems to me that what I end up advocating the most often (in response to what I see the most often as a barrier to progress) is to paradoxically give up the need for "slow" and "turn" at the initiation precisely in order to gain speed and arc control using other forces besides brute muscularity. As such, it's like you say, Bud ("lingering near flat"). It's really seductive to start pivoting right there and lose any chance of getting an effective edge to start the new turn. I run along behind and yell, "Don't turn! Dont' turn!"
I also know from my own skiing, how insidious this is, and how little twist it takes on the flat skis to mess up the starts.
And Scootertig, your beliefs are pretty strongly supported by my own experience and by surveys we used to take. When I was a Ski School Director at Coronet Peak in NZ, I used to try to get across the idea that the lesson should be sooo much fun, sooo compelling, interesting, and useful, that it is more
fun to ski with the pro than to ski with friends or families. This is a long time issue and you've said it very well. Lots of times, knowing this, we also end up inadvertently taking short cuts--in order to just keep them relatively safe on their own.