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An Outrageous Proposal

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
As "Boarboy" pointed out in the A Challenge thread there are at least 4 systems represented in American skiing today:PSIA, PMTS; Waist Steering; and the system developed by UCANSKI. I have just finished skim-reading the new Weekend Warriors book(S. Phipps)and now we have to add another system SITS. While many of the lurkers here on EPIC get (fascinated, confused, bored, irritated--take your pick), by the sometimes endless debate among the proponents of each system--we are also serious enough skiers to know good skiing when we see it. And that leads me to my outrageous proposal which I call The Ultimate Shoot Out

1. Each of the systems above (and others I may have overlooked) get to pick one demo skier.
2. Each demo skier submits a video showing short-radius, long-radius, carved turns on a groomed blue/black slope. In addition-each demo skier also skis some bumps and some powder.
3. Each demo skier wears a face mask, and non-identifiable ski clothing, and is identified in the video only as skier 1, 2, 3, etc. (so viewers aren't
pre-prejudiced by their favorite system)
4. Only later are the skiers, and the systems they represent, identified.

Bottom Line:Each of us, based on our own definition(s) of good skiing, could get to choose our favorite ski system, based not on theory-but actual skiing. What could be more democratic?? We could also be given resources to explore that system further-if we chose to. Impossible to pull off? Probably (but a similar system is used to test skis). I would pay a lot of money to see the above How about you?
post #2 of 26
I don't think I'd pay any money to see it, but it would be entertaining. It would also solve nothing. I have to think the proponents of the hard-core adherents of these systems would know "thier" skiing when they see it and vote for it no matter what.
post #3 of 26
But I think the "great unwashed" (non-technical skier) population is larger and would be interested in seeing and voting just to see the results.
post #4 of 26
It wouldn't tell you which system is easier to learn.
post #5 of 26
I like the idea, but making it happen requires WAY too much thinking and resolve on the part of the posters of videos, and I can't see too many proponents of different systems putting out the energy and time to post themselves doing all that for a discussion here. Maybe I'm wrong....

Even thought it would be nice to see if there are any differences in skiing style of accomplished adherents to these different systems, the proposal also ignores the differences in pedagogy used by each system. As I understand it, these systems are Teaching Systems.

I am a teacher, and I know that whatever final product the teacher is teaching, it must be reached by the student through a process delivered by the teacher. The marked differences I am aware of among PSIA, PMTS, Waist Steering, UCANSKI, and SITS are be more about the delivery system offered by the teachers to the students rather than about the final skiing style, skills, etc. Clearly whether I'm right or not would become evident should instructors within each system actually post videos.

Different students respond differently to different teaching processes. From my years of experience as a teacher (and a learner), I've realized that there is no right process, just different strokes for different folks. Teachers do what comes naturally to them; students also. If the match is good, then learning results. If not, students need to go shopping.

Vive la difference, I say.
post #6 of 26
I've said it before and I will say it again that while a system is a good starting point for a coach to learn to teach that it is simply that - a starting point - the same way it is a starting point when really learning to ski. The best coaches don't take a skier through a step-by-step process that comes out of a book when teaching someone to ski, because they are able to tailor their instruction to each student. The true talent in ski teaching lies with the coach, not what system they are a member of, prescribe to, or started learning in.

I don't understand why the majority of the population of this forum cannot see beyond a system when making judgments about credibility... or why everyone is constantly striving to decide what the superior system is. I've never been taught by any system unless you consider race coaching and good old common sense offered up by seasoned professional coaches (from all kinds of backgrounds) to be a system... and I've been able to become an "okay" skier. : Maybe systems and the narrow-mindedness they can breed all suck...

If you get a good coach it doesn't matter what their pin says (or if they even have a pin), you are going to get solid instruction and become a talented skier if you're willing to put the work into it. Let's focus on skiing and not PSIA skiing, PMTS skiing, SITS skiing, SVMM skiing, ROTFLMFAO skiing, or whatever else someone decides to come up with. Skiing is skiing, and we are all looking to get to the same place. If what you are currently learning isn't getting you there it might be time for a new coach that is going to change up your program and make you a better skier. Just because you couldn't get there with your current instruction does not make an entire teaching system or progression faulty, it just means that the person teaching you probably had their head up their @ss. When you get a good coach that takes your skiing to the level you want to be at you should be thankful for that coach, not for the system that trained them.

There are two types of coaches across the globe: GOOD coaches and BAD coaches.

Later

GREG
post #7 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeluvaSkier View Post
I've said it before and I will say it again that while a system is a good starting point for a coach to learn to teach that it is simply that - a starting point - the same way it is a starting point when really learning to ski. The best coaches don't take a skier through a step-by-step process that comes out of a book when teaching someone to ski, because they are able to tailor their instruction to each student. The true talent in ski teaching lies with the coach, not what system they are a member of, prescribe to, or started learning in.

I don't understand why the majority of the population of this forum cannot see beyond a system when making judgments about credibility... or why everyone is constantly striving to decide what the superior system is. I've never been taught by any system unless you consider race coaching and good old common sense offered up by seasoned professional coaches (from all kinds of backgrounds) to be a system... and I've been able to become an "okay" skier. : Maybe systems and the narrow-mindedness they can breed all suck...

If you get a good coach it doesn't matter what their pin says (or if they even have a pin), you are going to get solid instruction and become a talented skier if you're willing to put the work into it. Let's focus on skiing and not PSIA skiing, PMTS skiing, SITS skiing, SVMM skiing, ROTFLMFAO skiing, or whatever else someone decides to come up with. Skiing is skiing, and we are all looking to get to the same place. If what you are currently learning isn't getting you there it might be time for a new coach that is going to change up your program and make you a better skier. Just because you couldn't get there with your current instruction does not make an entire teaching system or progression faulty, it just means that the person teaching you probably had their head up their @ss. When you get a good coach that takes your skiing to the level you want to be at you should be thankful for that coach, not for the system that trained them.

There are two types of coaches across the globe: GOOD coaches and BAD coaches.

Later

GREG
This is the most intelligent post I've seen here in a long time.
post #8 of 26
Hear, Hear, Heluvaskier!

Quote:
I've never been taught by any system
I was going to say something very similar. Systems don't teach people. People do!

The only bad systems are those that prescribe or that restrict specifically what an instructor must teach. The best simply provide tools and help develop understanding, so that individual instructors can do ever better jobs identifying and addressing the needs of their students, allowing those student needs--not the "system"--to define the lesson.

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #9 of 26
I'll echo the lauding of Heluvaskier's post.

There is a ton of difference between a Skiing system and a Teaching system in that one prescribes a "way to ski" and the other doesn't.

I suppose the argument could be made that visual references created to provide training and knowledge could be viewed as such, but that doesn't mean they are intended as such. In that, how would one choose a demo-skier for an actual teaching system?

not to hijack, but: So when is a system a Teaching System and when is it a Skiing System. Are any of them misnamed? Are any of them mis-applied as part of their own workings (in relation to their names)?
post #10 of 26
Thanks, Greg, for giving me my new sig line
post #11 of 26
What no Chinese downhill?

Seriously though such a contest would only prove who was the better athlete, not who was taught in the better system, even then the result would depend as much on who the exact rules gave an advantage to as who was the better skier.
post #12 of 26
I think you would see a group of really great skiers, who have some personal style & tactical differences. Beyond that you would probably see a very similar basic technique.

Just look at the World Cup racers with skiers from defferent countries & national systems, all skiing the same course within seconds of each other.

Thanks,
JF
post #13 of 26
The purpose of any instruction is to make the student more proficient in the short term and accelerate long term improvement. I recall at least two video clips where the skiing system inventor taped a student at the beginning of the day and then at the end of the day. Memory tells me that one is by Harald Harb in an instructional CD, and the other is by John Clendenin in an Aspen Method video available on the web. I think student video is more telling as to the capabilities of a teaching system, but is far from perfect and subject to many, many variables.
post #14 of 26
Wait. That's not enough.
When American Skiing will be defined, itwill need to compete against Austrian Skiing, Canadian Skiing, French Skiing, Italian Skiing and Swiss Skiing.
Then Spanish Skiing and Belgian Skiing will sue the winner, and the whole showdown will be anulled.
And we'll have to start all over again.
post #15 of 26
I agree with Greg.

To put it simply, if you held the contest (and include all the "systems" outside of the US, too), you probably wouldn't notice a difference in the skiing of their best performers. The outcome of all the systems is generally the same. The supposed difference is how you get there.

But as Greg stated, the person who teaches you is more important than the system they teach.
post #16 of 26
I think that the biggest differences will not be found in the upper echelons of skiers that have been through a teaching strategy, but in the success/failure of instruction improving the ability of the average skier.

It is largely irrelevant to me if the average 10x per year skier is being taught either "limiting" moves or skills that can take them to the WC. Improving the skiing of those you teach is the ONLY point.

So, the question becomes how can you measure which strategy is best for improving the average skier?
post #17 of 26
I suspect all of the high level skiing would be great but differences would be easy to spot. Its pretty easy to identify a skier with a race background.
post #18 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigE View Post
I think that the biggest differences will not be found in the upper echelons of skiers that have been through a teaching strategy, but in the success/failure of instruction improving the ability of the average skier.
Especially when the proponents of the systems may not have been taught using that system in the first place.
post #19 of 26

don't mind echoing.

hallelujah, greg. thanks.
post #20 of 26
I think what defines a system is what the primary purpose of the organization/school is. Is it there to teach the general public how to obtain the basic skills to build a foundation and then provide enough trained professionals that can guide any individual along whatever path or level the skier/rider aspires to? Or is the system geared to a specific goal, such as USSA (just one example) providing a skill based foundation to produce best possible results for racing, bumps or even free ride. Is it a competition based system or purely an instructional system based on a philosophy on how skills should be presented based on set progressions for how a skier’s level is defined by that organization/school.

Clearly the basic progression for the lowest level skier the system is geared for defines the structure of its intended goal for its teachers (didn’t use Instructor/Coach intentionally). Past that the teacher defines the rest, or at least should, providing they have the adequate “vocabulary” to teach a wide range of skills in a logical progression for groups and individuals.

The idea of matching a system based purely on the competitive aspect of the sport versus a more general less specific approach has fairly limited merits. Ski racers or professional bump skiers, for example, having gone through years of specific coaching are going to excel with extremely developed skill sets and probably be very good all mountain to off piste skiers as well. To take someone who has not gone through such specialized training serves very little purpose as that’s simply not the goal of the school or the client.

As Heluva pointed out, however, it is the teacher’s skill, ability to understand, assess and provide the input to best allow each skier to develop along the lines of their own personal interest or needs that is important. A system that curtails a teacher’s ability to offer creative, even outside of the box learning environments will be hard pressed to meet the needs of the large group of skiers with greatly varying skill sets, even if its competition or high performance skiing oriented.

So there seems to be two important aspects of any system or school. The learning environment provided for the client and their specific interests and the training program/structure developing the teachers to service their client’s needs.

Does it matter if there is a cohesive thread/philosophy followed by each teacher of the organization past a certain level or should there be some structure or paradigm that is followed by all who teach within that “system” through all levels served? Is free form teaching based on accepted consensus of skill development any worse than a very structured approach based on the teacher’s strict adherence to the systems teaching structure and progressions?

My contention is that higher the level of the student the more freedom the teacher must have to create a creative and functional learning environment. The lower the level and the larger the group that is being taught structure comes in very handy for efficiency.

So back on topic, systems shoot out? What for? Wouldn’t prove a thing. A complex comparison of how each system meets its stated goals is probably a pretty tough exercise and again, what purpose would it serve? Help clients decide on where to get the instruction they are most interested in? Perhaps.

Just my typical topic killing 0.02 worth
post #21 of 26
It would be interesting to discuss the differences between the different systems based on:
1. absolute beginners
2. intermediate on groomed runs
3. carving
4. moguls
5. powder
post #22 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by tdk6 View Post
It would be interesting to discuss the differences between the different systems based on:
1. absolute beginners
2. intermediate on groomed runs
3. carving
4. moguls
5. powder
This would definitely take the concept of this thread in the right direction. Setup in the right format this could be even fun. The problem is the comparison would have to make some adjustments for systems that are based on specific skill developments, such as racing/tactics/strategy and the progressions to move the student/racer/skier to each level.

The systems, therefore, can easily be classified as general skiing (PSIA), Racing (USSA, MSRT, PMTS), Bump (SVMM, USSA) and so on.

Each of these systems have skill development paradigms that is what sets them apart. They do how every, have areas where there must be similarity, for instance when dealing with basic arc/carve turns, transitions, and turn shape and movement patterns to affect tactics for varying terrain.

Some of the systems (I know this for sure with MSRT) don't really cater to the first time beginner so a comparison there would be fruitless. But past just the "A" class or Level 1 PSIA progression there is a distinct difference in how skills are developed between the DTC (direct to carve) schools of thought of skill development and the skid to pivot to carve progression of the more general schools, such as PSIA or CSIA (I'm not purposely ignoring the European systems, I'm not that familiar with their teaching paradigms).

In our system the Pivot is considered a high level movement and thus taught later in skill development rather than early on, good reason why first timers haven't been considered as part of the skiing public we are geared for. This is not to say edge control is not addressed early and drills such as Pivot Slips, hockey stop/release, or other skill based drills are not employed to develop edge control. I'm speaking of a high performance turn with a pivot aspect to turn development (what we call Pivot Entry Turns or P.E.T.'s that terminate in a carve prior to release).

So Tdk6, reasonable proposal, putting it into a framework that would cite the cross over concepts of all systems as a basis of the discussion (such as Pivot turns, brushed carves, arc turns, and the progression to develop the skill and/or when it is introduced and why). The citing the differences in the nuances of the systems paying attention to their core stated goal with regards to its students and then to develop a logical and flowing discussion without veering off course at every juncture would be a challenge, indeed.

Hope this doesn't start a forest fire rather than a civil discussion or no discussion at all due to the challenges of such an exercise.

Note; I don't claim to be an expert on each school's progressions or the building blocks of their systems, even more important, past PSIA (old school) and USSA, having either been certified or are currently certified, I know very little about many system's instructor training programs (such as PMTS, SVMM, SITS, or the different national European programs). There are many up here that are well versed in these systems that can address what I dare not. I simply do not have the time to study the subject, unfortunate.
post #23 of 26
No ARC TECH? . . . well that's OK.
There is only one system that works for racing, general skiing (beginners included), powder and bumps-PMTS. That is the power of it, all is covered.
post #24 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bolter View Post
No ARC TECH? . . . well that's OK.
There is only one system that works for racing, general skiing (beginners included), powder and bumps-PMTS. That is the power of it, all is covered.
Hey, sorry to leave you out Bolter, may bad!

I guess the discussion is closed with the last part of your statement. Saves a lot of energy (especially since I don't want to cover it all)
post #25 of 26

007

Garry, great post. Glad to see someone as qualified as you jumping at my "outrageous proposal" and showing all the different systems such respect. I too do not have time nor do I have the knowledge to compare systems to each other but thats why I was thinking that each one of the reps for their systems could step forward and write shortly the general guidlines for each category. Bolter speaking for PMTS was first to go and seemed to cover it all in just a few words. I guess thats the kind of humble attitude PMTS adepts are famous here at epic for but lets not hack down on HH and his system just because of one posting because the system is really good and covers a wide spectrum of skiing. But there is more.... the world is not enough!

For example, one question that has been asked here lots of times is if its bad to take lessons at a different resort or country featuring a different system without screwing up ones skiing for good. With my suggested documentation it would be possible to quickly figure out what the new ski school or systems building blocks are made off and do they approve of the skills learned at other schools or systems.
post #26 of 26

Its all good

Quote:
Originally Posted by tdk6 View Post
Garry, great post. Glad to see someone as qualified as you jumping at my "outrageous proposal" and showing all the different systems such respect. I too do not have time nor do I have the knowledge to compare systems to each other but thats why I was thinking that each one of the reps for their systems could step forward and write shortly the general guidlines for each category. Bolter speaking for PMTS was first to go and seemed to cover it all in just a few words. I guess thats the kind of humble attitude PMTS adepts are famous here at epic for but lets not hack down on HH and his system just because of one posting because the system is really good and covers a wide spectrum of skiing. But there is more.... the world is not enough!

For example, one question that has been asked here lots of times is if its bad to take lessons at a different resort or country featuring a different system without screwing up ones skiing for good. With my suggested documentation it would be possible to quickly figure out what the new ski school or systems building blocks are made off and do they approve of the skills learned at other schools or systems.
Thanks TDK! I try to be impartial and fair and do see merits in all the systems out there to the extent of what I have read myself, not what I've seen represented by third parties.

I hope Bolter was jesting and knowing him to be a level-headed forward thinking guy I tend to believe he was - if I'm wrong, well, 'nuff said, still like Arc-Tech and how he delved into "Gait Mechanics", a very important bio-mechanical aspect of efficient ski technique, especially with regards to transitions.

To suggest that anyone system is the end all is, well, just plain silly or worse, unfortunate. If that was the case PSIA, CSIA and all other National system would be overwhelmed by the "ultimate system". The inventor of the system should copyright, trademark and seek venture capitalists to secure a stranglehold on the market - I know I would.

The plain truth is all the system are based on similar principles of building logical skill sets enabling the practitioner to expand their capability in ever expanding situations and environments.

Past the rank beginner, and there is legitimate cart before the horse debate on whether teaching a rank beginner edging skills first to the point of early rudimentary carved (or for the really anal, brushed carved turns) rather than purely speed control skidded turns, the systems quickly blur into a matter of emphasis, not anything truly revolutionary, IMHO.

The penultimate practitioner of any school will be a top notch high performance skier and as pointed out above, unless we are dealing with specific disciplines like racing, bumps or SuperPipe, they movement patterns will be all pretty close other than some small style variances.

And then comes Byggmark.

I bring this up as the comment was made, and correctly so, watch 100 FIS racers come down the course and not only are the top guys 1/100th of second apart (usually) but they all look pretty darn similar. Physique plays a more important factor on how a skier "looks" than technique. A taller skier bigger mass skier will ski a bit differently than the diminutive smaller quicker skier, at least in the race course, possibly elsewhere. That boils down to bio mechanics and physics, not what system they've come out of. Yes, a few years back there was a pretty marked difference between an Norwegian Team vs. Austrian Team member vs. an American Team member (when hip counter was hugely prevalent) but recently, especially in the last two seasons those lines have been blurred from watching 100s of hours of videos. All one has to do is look at the evolution of Hermann's technique from 2001 to last season, he is much more square than much earlier.

Then come the Iconoclasts, first Bode and now Byggmark. Watch Byggmark ski slalom and please tell me you aren't seeing almost wild rotational employment of the upper body as he transitions from turn to turn. His style is new, it isn't a product of any system, its similar to Bode's development, the raw talent and athleticism transcends the system and something new is invented. Ligety also falls into this category in IMHO.

So I used ski racing, easiest format to look at one skier to the next and truly analyze what's going on with the addition of the clock telling you what's been most efficient or, is it just fastest?

The same is true of Joe Public skier who wants to take his skiing to its fullest potential. Something or more specifically, someone, or even better a bunch of someones have to give him a base to launch from. I don't care if its this dogma or WS or arcing or Pivoting his butt down a green slope as long as the technical thread he is following leads to self exploration and efficient movement patterns. If he/she gets blocked, he can go back to anyone of that bunch of someones and get a key to unlock the door to great vistas in his skiing imagination and physical execution.

More is better, its been said up here a thousand times but having said it one time is enough IMO, having to say it a thousand times is a problem.

No doubt, that a child is formed with incredible impact in its formative years of life. So is the beginning skier. If the skier is giving a faulty foundation he/she will be stunted but not hopeless. But to assume that any highly successful system (such as PSIA) is built on completely faulty premises and can't produce that magically creative skier is folly.

And as said, it really comes down to the child's parents or in the case of the skier, his/her teachers. As pointed out by Heluva, no matter what pin is stuck on the jacket the true professional teacher, even better, the truly creative and passionate teacher, regardless of system, will send the skier on a life long adventure of learning that can only be positively impacted by every other truly creative and passionate teacher he then encounters along his path.

There is no one way, never was and never will be. The Byggmarks, Millers and Ligetys of the world prove that, undeniably.

Just me 0.02 worth
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