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Legendary Skiing

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Does anyone know about the Legendary Skiing program featuring principles of the Mahres' skiing and marketed to resorts/ski schools? How involved were the Mahres?

I have never heard anything about it. It is mentioned in an article @ www.hyperchangecafe.com/Practice/samseiler.htm

When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro...
post #2 of 16
I am unaware of anything franchaised as is indicated in the article...just the Keystone "camps". The article states that Directors were contacted by PSIA, but I have never been marketed to, or admonished to abstain from any "system" or "program" by National. I am interested in what others may know...good question! I wonder if they use a wedge...or direct-parallel-whitepass turns?!?!
post #3 of 16
Robin, as I told Roto in another thread, ask Bob Barnes, he was a coach for the Mahres while at Keytsone...

post #4 of 16
Thread Starter 
Or direct to converging-step parallel
post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 
Exactly. When you replied to this on the other thread I immediately noticed the name. While Seiler does say it is a program based on the Mahres' he does not let on that he developed and marketed the LS Program. In light of the purpose and bent of the article this borders on lying by omission to gain credibility. I have seen too many people over the years become angry and soured toward PSIA solely because their ideas were not validated as superior...GO FIGURE.

When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro...<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by Roto (edited July 01, 2001).]</FONT>
post #6 of 16
Thread Starter 
It makes sense that ATM/ATS didn't/doesn't work for them as their attitudes and behavior prove they are self(instructor) centered rather than student centered...
post #7 of 16
Thread Starter 

Thanks, you have a way with skis.

Do you have any comments on "Cui Bono?" www.hyperchangecafe.com/Practice/cuibono.htm

Joan raises some salient points, but they may depart somewhat from what I see as one of PSIA's goals; to create student/client- centered experiences. My conceptual awareness of PSIA and its processes is not very broad as of yet. I have been an on-the-snow type.

Could a member-service organization ultimately serve the public's needs indirectly?

I have found the ski teaching profession (in the NW) as a difficult way to make a living while still requiring a high degree of job commitment and its own brand of higher education.

Michael Berry seemed to be clear on the interdependent nature of the industry problem of guest retention in his presentations. Every article referring to the NSAA study I see fails to truly acknowledge the industry-wide guest-experience responsibility. Many of these articles place the blame squarely on the instructor/guest interaction.

Some management types suggest they have to step up and take responsibility only because PSIA/Ski Schools/Directors are not going to step up and claim theirs!! I can see why there is a concern (if there is) within PSIA leadership about survival.

The historical tendency for maverick instructors to run-off half-cocked in the misrepresented name of giving people a better product begs for standardization to some degree. Maybe my vision is limited, but I see PSIA as relevant as ever right now! On the other hand HH's bid at privatizing/franchising a teaching system represents great opportunities for ski teachers to do more than squeak by on what they do. Does the PSIA umbrella influence such a bid to be adversarial? Could the development of such programs occur alongside/in conjunction with PSIA/ATS?

When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro...
post #8 of 16
I've always agreed witht he principle that competition breeds superior products and lower prices.

I long hoped that a professional and well organized system like the USSCA would move more into the regular instruction realm and compete with the PSIA.

However, HH systems and all the other ones that have reared their heads thus far in recreational ski teaching and instructor certification have simply not had the right approach.

So the PSIA remains the largest and most diverse repository of talent and information in the United States. Any organization that hopes to challenge it must be non-profit, run by its members and not primarily under the control of and for the profit of an individual or select group. This ultimately is the great strength of the PSIA - it is member run. You can really talk about the PSIA as a unit - because it is actually a collective. A huge cooperative effort of people from many walks of life, and with talents in a diverse range of areas.

Thousands of brains will always be more powerful than one or a few brains. And though large groups can be slow to change course, just like large ships - they always get there . . . and a large group has room within it for many different philosophys and approaches to problems.
post #9 of 16
Just a few corrections to some of the comments made about the Legendary Skiing video. I worked on the video production and post production. It was a fantastic experience because I have been involved in ski racing for years.

I was present at the daily meetings during the production and was involved in all the post production work. The video is a presentation of the Mahre's principles. They were involved in the daily production meetings and had final editoral control. Stephan Hienzsch played a very large role in creating the script.

Keystone sold the video in their ski shop and it was used by Phil and Steve and Stephan at the Mahre Training Center for several years after it was released. This might have happened after Bob Barnes was no longer involved as a coach.

Phil, Steve and Stephan have a different approach to presenting their ideas. Like their first video, they say these are our ideas and they let their record speak for itself. They don't confront PSIA instructors because they have to work with them, and because they know how deeply they believe in the PSIA approach.

Mike Seiler produced the video and made it available to the general public and to ski schools that would be interested in the Mahre's approach. Mike got to know Stephan through his Master's Training Program and attending some Mahre Training Centers. He worked for Citibank, but had been a technical director at a couple of ski schools.

Mike had just attended a couple of national academies and was a clinic leader for PSIA before deciding to make the video. He tried to give some of the information to PSIA in the form of a an article for TPS. Juris Vagners review the article and said it was good and should be published, but that it wouldn't because it was too different from PSIA's approach. Fortunately, Mike and Stephan decided to create another video to highlight the Mahre's unique approach to skiing.

The Mahre's principles reveal profound simplicity. We had to be very careful how we discuss steering in the video, because the Mahre's only use it in specific situations. Active steering movements are not part of an efficient turn in a race course. This was one of the most unique principles that the video tried to highlight. It greatly simplifies skiing. A skier can focus on tatics; where to start and finish a turn. That is determined by when the skier starts edging and how quickly edging movements are made.

Shaped skis were just becoming popular when the video was produced, so the fact that skis can carve sooner in a turn is not covered much. Steve was actually sick with some kind of flu for much of the shoot, and Phil wasn't even supposed to ski because of a severe shoulder injury he suffered a few month earlier.

I was able to salt the course one morning just after the snow was getting soft enough to leave a half inch deep track. Phil had made four runs already, I was amazed when I started salting to only find one perfectly carved track that looked like it was made by a snowboarder. Phil was on straight skis!

Phil and Steve are an incredible resource with a unique approach to skiing that can make instruction better and more effective. Instructors just have to be willing to really listen and learn something very different.
post #10 of 16
Wow what a great first post. Welcome aboard.
Thanks for the insiders insight.
post #11 of 16

Interesting!! It would be interesting to see their methods. As long as they didn't get into name calling and bashing, I don't see why anyone would take offense to it. Especially with the Mahre's name on it. The only people I could see possibly bemoaning it would be some of the bigger egos on the Ed Staff. But really, who's going to tell the Mahre Bros. that they are full of it? I would bet that it would be well received by most. Especially if it wan't hyped as the greatest thing since snow and all other ways of teaching should be cast aside.
post #12 of 16
Thanks for posting, and welcome! How do we get a copy of that video? Is it still sold?

Perhaps you could fill us in on the Mahre's boot fitting techniques. I've heard that when they got a new pair of boots they went onto a concrete floor and "edged" to each side. If the boots went "click - click" as they went to the edge then they weren't set up right. If the clicks from both boots were simultaneous, then they were o.k.
Know anything about that?

post #13 of 16
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the reality check. Great perspective on the video. My intention definitley wasn't to impugn or lampoon the Mahres. I used to race and coach during and after the Mahres' reign. Their influence is a solid part of my skiing beliefs/understanding.

For awhile I coached and taught at the same mountain. I frequently found myself between a phalanx of instructors and the head coach arguing about 'steering.' I have the utmost respect for both fields of work.
Teaching and coaching serve different purposes and needs. My involvement with racing has taken my skiing much further than it ever would have gone had I not been involved with racing.

My original question was related to an article on another website that stated Legendary Skiing was program marketed to ski areas and ski schools. Was this an extension of the video? Were the Mahre's involved beyond the video? Again, thanks for the informative post.

When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro...
post #14 of 16
Thanks for all the comments, I'm sorry I was not able to respond sooner, but I'm very busy now days.

JohnH stated: The only people I could see possibly bemoaning it would be some of the bigger egos on the Ed Staff. But really, who's going to tell the Mahre Bros. that they are full of it?

When PSIA officials censored the Mahre's ideas they must have been trying to protect the organizations ideas rather than providing a free exchange of ideas. There was something very different that challenged PSIA thinking.

Tog - I think copies are becoming collector items. You might try sending an email to mchallenge@home.com and request a copy.

I can't help you out much with the boot fitting question. Warren Witherell has said that Phil's natural alignment is perfect, and I do know that he was not one for using new boots.

Roto- The decision to offer the video to ski schools was made early on, it was mostly an attempt to make the Mahre's and Nelson Carmichael's aproaches more widely available.

Bob- The lime green suit was an only choice. Spyder sent a large box of clothes for the shoot, but all the pants that would fit the Mahre's were solid black which would not work well on the video.

Most of these issues would best be addressed by Mike Seiler, but I was there for most of the discussions, so I'll give you my take.

PSIA ideas were well represented with a variety of materials including a paper Mike Porter presented at the national academy about about slalom technique. Mike Seiler discussed the PSIA view with Phil and he was clear; that was not what was happening.

As far as rotary movements in slalom turns are concerned, Phil doesn't say that there isn't a lot of rotary movement at the start of a turn, but rather it is not an active steering movement that the skier is making. When Phil says be patient and let the ski get the direction, that doesn't mean add an active steering force. The Mahres are guilty of not being very exact when they talk about their turns, because they do sometimes say steer or turn when they don't mean it in an active sense.

In GS turns things are more drawn out, but no active steering movement is necessary. Bob, you asked what turns the skis, things naturally move in a straight line, so as soon as you stop edging the skis, inertia will take the skis in the direction of the new turn. Add to that some wound up muscle tention and gravity, and no active steering movements are needed. Sometimes the forces were so high when Phil was in the course that they would throw his body inside the new turn, and with his very early weight transfer, even his straight skis would start carving very early in a turn.

For wedge turns the distinction was made between steering with the skis relatively flat and transfering weight with the skis more on edge. Using just a weight transfer in a wedge helps to develop that patience at the start of a turn.

There was already talk of the effects of shaped skis as we were working on the video, but the Mahre's approach on traditional skis didn't emphasize steering, so it worked well with shaped skis. People did get obsessed with carving right at the start of a turn with shaped skis, and the video didn't touch on that option. But that was viewed as an option not the "new" or "modern" technique. It can be faster if the ski can hold all the way to the end of the turn and if the turn is started in the right place, but it can also require a lot more work than just floating in the first half of a turn. In any case Phil said racing is about tatics and that is still the bottom line today even though we can edge earlier more often.

Another unique aspect of the video was to use Nelson Carmichael to show that skiing is a specialized sport, in contrast to the old idea that a great skier is great at everything. They tried to show that even though there is no one "right way" to ski, there best ways to ski for different types of skiing. So instead of just saying here are all the skills or elements of skiing, they showed how to use them for some specific applications.
post #15 of 16
Definitely a back to the future read,Bob! The centerline concept immediately gelled (sp?) for me when first laid out. For many, especially you know who, it remains an elusive abstract. Personally, I struggled with a growing technical knowledge, trying to file it away without that formulaic kind of "place for everything". The centerline, in it's simplicity gave me vehicle to understand rather than file away. Hard to describe...maybe just the way our brains are wired. Hey, remember the first video...Jerry Warren...movie star!
post #16 of 16
That response took a while to digest Bob! I don't think they were minor points as the length of your response suggests, rather I think they are at the heart of the debate. There certainly was a lot of discussion of these issues during the production of the video and they are issues that coaches and instructors have debated for a long time.

The Mahres are talking about steering not the broader issue of rotary movements. During the production process there was an attempt to expand and clarify certain points from the first Ski the Mahre Way video. Mike had discussed this with Stephan and the Mahres before production started and again through out the process.

I had a chance to read some of the stacks of reference materials that Mike had brought to the shoot. Included were correspondence and articles from the leaders of PSIA such as Mike Porter and Juris Vagners, along with several PSIA manuals. I don't think there was any confusion about PSIA's position, we were getting it right from the source, I think the problem was misunderstanding among the members.

PSIA used rotary movements to include many things like rotation, anticipation, pivoting and steering. Pivoting occured more at the initiation of a turn as a result the skier unwinding, but steering happened more in the control phase of a turn as a skier turned their feet in the direction they were going.

Steering was a major part of all the detailed descriptions of classes from A through F. Steering was described as a longer and more active process. Pivoting was described as much more of a passive process like the distinction PSIA made between active and passive anticipation.

Phil never spoke of a conflict with anyone in PSIA, but he does think they have way too much emphasis on steering. The incredible feel that racer needs for their edges requires precise timing and balancing of the increasing pressure. Adding an additional turning forces makes things extremely more complicated and difficult, and reduces the chances that the skier will ever develop a great feel for their edges.

The argument that edging movements produce some degree of rotation in the leg especially when in a wedge is irrelevant. The discussion is about the need for active steering movements, not a passive by-product of edging.

I know Phil is not happy with how complicated PSIA has made skiing. Mike said Stephan was very hesitant to discuss these items in any detail with him besause of his PSIA background. Stephan knows how hard it is to change minds and the hard feelings that can be created. Mike said it took Stephan a long time to open up with him.

I think one of Mike's biggest criticisms of ATS is its lack of specifics, meaning it provides all the elements and no blueprints.
Since the video project I know that Mike has raised the issue of replacing a national program with a market of programs for consumers. Maybe providing some competition could bring about some real change over the next ten years.
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