This is the most interesting wedge discussion I've ever seen. Actually, I never considered that talking about the wedge could be interesting.
Yes Barnes, you're right. When I first took a lesson with Harald I could see where wedge was holding me back. I couldn't lean downhill and I couldn't make parallel turns. When I went to lighten my downhill foot first, I just couldn't do it. It took me, most of my first year (2 years ago) just to be able to lean downhill.
I was pissed, that I had learned to ski that way (Pop's wedge turns).
I agree with you. I've yet to see anyone, who doesn't push off the downhill ski in some conditions. Particularly in steep conditions, I'll just say that I think it's impossible (if you're ripping) to not make at least one turn, pushing off the downhill ski. But does that really mean that learning some sort of wedge movement is part of learning to ski? I don't know.
From observation, I'll say that I disagree with your feeling about parallel turns. When I see a skier make parallel turns down an entire run, that is maintaining equal edge angles, I think that's expert skiing.
You point out that HH using his trademark "No Plow" logo was all in self-interest. Not so fast, wedge turns breath.
First, every product or service needs a marketing "hook". Coke has one, Miller Lite has one, and so on. A marketing hook, is necessary, in order to attract customers. Not to sell customers, but to attract them. Your books, have a marketing hook, "The Encyclopedia of Skiing."
"No Plow" has caused many instructors, you including, to take a much harder look at their training. It's caused raging debate, which in the end, has turned out to be productive. Skiers everywhere are feeling the ripple effects of HH's marketing. The PSIA has paid attention, ski instructors have paid attention. The bottom line is that the ski instruction product has improved.
Is it all due to HH? I'm not sure he can take all the credit, but I'm sure he can take a good deal of it. HH came along and set this business on it's butt. He challenged virually every known tenent and made a lot of people mad.
And that's a great thing. He challenged an industry to produce a better product and he was successful. Your books are better. Look at all your thought. Can you honestly say that your thoughts weren't driven, at least in part, by HH's harsh criticism of the PSIA and ski instruction in general?
People respond the best when their backs are up against the wall. I'll argue that indirectly, HH thumped his finger on ski instructions chest, backed them up against a wall, and said, "Do better. You can do a whole lot better." Some just said, "F off". But I think more than some, and fewer than all, took his challenge. They went off and improved their teaching.
Look at epic. 2 years later, we're arriving at common ground that no one thought possible. Where'd the impetus come from? HH.
I've been around, you know that. Right now, I can think of no other person who's had as great an impact on this business in the last few years than HH has. Ski professionals everywhere are responding, have responded to his criticism. Are you really going to tell me that the powers that be in PSIA didn't get mad as hell at HH, and then did something about it?
You've said that PSIA had this direct parallel idea all along (Center line?). They may have, but what value does a product really have if it's not being sold? Zero value! I can sit around all day and make claims that I thought of the first widget. But if ACME Corp. was the one who sold millions of widgets, made them popular, ACME Corp. is the one who deserves the credit. They get all the credit.
Another example is the beer industry. Cold filtered brewing has been around circa 1940. But Miller, was the first one to build a brand around it. Who gets the credit for cold filtered brewing? Miller does.
So industry professionals can sit around over beers all day and moan that HH really isn't doing anything new, blah bla blah. But the next time a student says to you, "You know, I don't want to learn the wedge", or they ask, "I've heard about HH, can you teach what he talks about?", and then they leave you a nice tip, thank HH and Diana.
Edit: Or, even simpler. The next time you recognize that a student can go to direct parallel, and not teach them the wedge, thank HH. Because I'll forever argue that before he came along, no one, thought it was possible to teach skiers sans the wedge.
Thank them as well, for pushing the ski instruction industry to improve it's product. Because the better the ski instruction product, the more money everyone makes.
Cheers,[ July 10, 2002, 02:05 PM: Message edited by: SCSA ]