The following post by Bob Barnes was a technically insightful gem that I fear may have been lost within the emotions of the thread in which it was placed. It needs to be set high on display for all to see, study and heed.
Originally Posted by Bob Barnes
Doug Coombs was a virtuoso of skiing, a master of the entire spectrum of techniques, tactics, and intents, as well as a master of the mental focus and discipline needed to bring out top performance in trying situations. His unbiased versatility allowed him to employ any technique needed to get the job done, and demonstrated clearly why skill is the real measure of good skiing--not just practice of any particular technique. And I agree completely, too, that there is a big lesson in his skiing that conflicts with many of the restrictive technical biases so often pushed as the "right" way around here.
Perhaps the biggest polarizing point of contention in the technical forums here over the years has not come from disagreement about which techniques were "right," but from disagreement about whether or not there really is a "right" technique in the first place. I've long advocated, along with many other instructors, that good skiing is about developing broad-based skill, not about particular "final forms." Modern ski instruction in the US, and to a large extent worldwide, has shifted stongly from the "final forms," technique-driven models of the past to the more versatile, less-restrictive, skills-based and outcome-based (matching specific techniques to desired purposes) models of today, and great skiers like Doug Coombs demonstrate why.
The lessons of Doug's skiing go well beyond just the technical, too. He demonstrated mastery of the concepts Weems expresses in his "Sports Diamond" model as well. Power and Purpose--the ability to match movement to intent, technique to tactics--Touch and Will--the blending of mental focus, passion, courage, and will-power with sensitivity, feel, and versatility, to impose mental control over movements, even while trusting the body to react unconsciously and appropriately to feedback from the skis and snow.
Doug Coombs showed all these things to the highest level. Few skiers can aspire to the same degree of mastery, but all skiers can learn from the principles that Doug embodied. Skiing, as the totality of body, mind, and spirit, is so much more, so much richer and more challenging and rewarding, than skiing as a mere technique.
So explore and practice all techniques, all variables of movement. Focus not on "right and wrong," but on cause and effect. No technique is right or wrong in itself--only when tied to intent or outcome can its effectiveness be measured. I've described before a "spectrum of intents" (from pure carving to pure braking) that I think simplifies the range a bit, but the point is to practice without bias all possible blends of skill and movement, while developing a high-level awareness of the effects, uses, and misuses of each. Any technical focus is, by definition, biased and restrictive. Great skiing is not!