Great skiing, Holiday and ESki! (Good to see you again, roomie!)
I must say that I am still ultimately baffled by why this discussion is anything but applause and admiration for, and some technical and tactical analysis of, two great, unique, individual skiers having a great time on some great terrain, showing tremendous effectiveness, versatility, and skill. It makes no sense to me whatsoever to talk about anyone else, or to argue about any "system" of learning. It's irrational. It's nuts! It completely misses the point. This is especially true for two obvious reasons: first, skiing movements are skiing movements, regardless of how you may have learned them, and whom you may have learned them from. They're just movements. And second, I doubt that either Holiday or ESki would tell you that they learned all their movements and tactics and ability from either of the "systems" mentioned here, or from any other, for that matter.
In any case, I'd like to make two comments about a couple of the technical points raised in this discussion:
- There is always an "edge release" in any turn, if another turn precedes or follows it. There are two basic ways to release an edge: 1) roll the ski(s) flatter until they let go of the mountain, or 2) lighten or lift ("unweight") the ski(s) off the snow. As Eric and Wade demonstrate, great skiers can do both, and choose--usually unconsciously--with purpose and intent.
- Anyone with eyes can see "rotary movements" in abundance in every run, and every turn, in these video clips. Both Eric and Wade manage these movements with skill, finesse and again, purpose. There are rotary movements of the legs (evidenced whenever skis point a different direction than pelvis). There are rotary movements of the upper body (look at Holiday's obvious arm movements that coincide with his self-described "up" motion, helping to pull the rest of his body and then his skis into most turns). There are blocking pole plants, most evident in Eric's turns, where the firmly planted, forward angled pole pushes back on his outstretched arm, torquing his body and skis like a wrench on a bolt. Perhaps a bit less obvious, there are "counter-rotation" movements of the upper and lower body, mostly seen subtly in the second halves of some of Eric's turns. Both Eric and Wade combine all these movements with great skill and purpose, as they control the direction their skis point, turn them as needed, stop them from turning as needed, and manage the rotational momentum of their bodies. Sometimes they involve active muscular contraction; other times they involve simply relaxing previously stretched muscles ("windup-release"). Always, they demonstrate brilliant rotary skill (along with other skills). But I would be very surprised if either of these skiers was consciously focusing on--or even probably aware of--these movements in these high-performance situations.
Conscious thought is hardly a requirement for skillful and willful movement to occur. Indeed, is that not a primary advantage of skill--that it allows sophisticated movement without conscious direction? It's elementary anatomy that the part of the brain that directs coordinated movement is quite separate from the part where conscious thought lives. Like any great skier, Wade and Eric need not "focus" on any particular movement when skiing in performance mode. Indeed--guys please correct me if you disagree--I'll bet they were a lot more focused on their tactics here--where
to turn and when, much more than how--
and were far more aware of the feedback they received from these turns than the technical input that caused them--the feel and sound of the snow, the performance of their skis, the grip of the edges, rhythm, balance, speed, and surroundings. And their bodies acted and reacted as needed, with skill and versatility, and according to intent.
That's what great skiers do. All
great skiers! Great skiing far transcends any debate over technical dogma. This is skiing, folks. It's a symphony, not just practicing scales. It's the culmination of everything you've ever learned, in your entire life, about how your body moves, how your mind works, and how you react to situations and your environment. For great skiers, skiing is not an activity separate from what you "normally" do. There are no dogma-imposed rules or book-learned restrictions on how you should or should not move. There is only skill, awareness, opportunity, experience, creativity, virtuosity.
The sad thing is, it appears that few grasp this truth that truly good skiers take for granted. I realize that it's a lot simpler to reduce great skiing to "a movement pattern," or to some narrowly defined technique governed by "shoulds and should nots." Many inexperienced (and some experienced) instructors do just this. What they think is "understanding" is actually just memorization of a few basic positions, drills, and "rules." Anyone familiar with Bloom's Taxonomy of the Cognitive Domain
(a concept well known to educators in most fields, describing the development of understanding) recognizes that "knowledge" is but the very lowest rung on the ladder of understanding. Indeed, it is creativity and the ability to synthesize new patterns, new techniques, and new ideas, to break free of dogmatic "knowledge" restrictions with purpose and judgment, that Bloom recognized as the highest form of mastery. Real understanding comes from challenging
ideas, not just repeating them.
Kind of makes these arguments about "moves" and "systems" seem pedantic, doesn't it?
Keep on skiing, guys! Keep learning. I can't wait to make some turns with you somewhere, some time!