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The HH Debates:An early one (long)

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Warning: Very long post here!

O.k. everyone's had a say on this issue and I thought it would be interesting to see a little discussion on the HH system from a few years ago.

Here’s a small part of a very long (over 40pgs) post that was on SkiNet I believe. At the time I had recently purchased the book and was fascinated by this discussion.
That winter I started teaching and I remember in an introduction for new instructors I brought up the subject of "should we teach the wedge?" and boy did I get an earful!

This is only the part where Harald interacts. There's no great revelation on his part but it’s interesting.( Actually Ott comes in later. Ott, was this SkiNet?)

Everything from here down is from that thread.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> >>>>>>>>>>

Date: Oct 6 1998 10:12PM
Author: Harald
eMail: *

Dear Friends,

Many of the comments made about my system are due to ingnorance, instructors
don't understand my system because they have never studied it or experienced
it. Those that have know that all of the necessary elements are built into
it from skidding to World Cup racing, to bump and all mountain skiing. It is
a much simplier system and it gets faster results. Make no mistake it has
proven itself and continues to satisfy eager skiers who are sick of getting
no where with traditional instruction. Over twenty thousand lessons were
taught to beginners last season at one ski school alone using my direct
parallel method, yes, no wedges no wedge turns or wedge christie, just happy
parallel skiing. Lito is using the system and has just made a new video
about it. It is growing and will soon be at an area near you. If you are one
of the thousands who want more from ski lessons visit my web site and find
out where to get a Harb or Lito ski lesson.

Have a great season and don't give up there is hope.


Date: Oct 7 1998 3:34AM
Author: Jonathan
eMail: *

Harald, I am having some problem understanding some of the assumptions you make on your website.

Let me first say, I respect your abilities as a skier and clinician, as well as your understanding of "Primary Movements"/Skills. But what I am having trouble understanding is your assumption of how "revolutionary" your ideas are.

First of all, I believe your system is part of an evolutionary process, not revolutionary. The advances in technology to create better
bootfitting, skis to match skiing ability, etc., have been developing for a decade. Instructors who have been staying on top of this development have evolved as well.

I'm sure the "Revolution' is a marketing strategy. Traditional is old school (not cool), a "revolution' is what everyone wants.....i.e. fastest computer, super-duper sidecut skis, ultra-forgiving Long Hitting Golf Clubs..... Your marketing understandable, it Sells. For that, I cannot fault you.

However, what I do find deplorable is your inference that YOUR instructors "establish a standard of communication heretofore unknown
in the skiing industry". I am assuming you derive this "standard of communication" from your "Motivational Teaching" approach. After
reading your Definition of this approach (from www.harbskisystems.com), it sounds like little more than a mix of Learning Styles and Teaching Styles with a little bit of the PSIA Teaching model thrown in for good measure. This approach seems hardly Revolutionary. Evolutionary perhaps... What my certified colleges and I teach, certainly.

I consider myself a traditional teacher, with a fairly solid understanding of technology, modern teaching, tactics, and technique. I
don't teach dead end manuevers, yet I do teach the wedge. I don't believe it is a "dead end" manuever, which I believe you infer.

Perhaps I am totally mistaken, or "ignorant" as you say. I will purchase your book at my next convienence to refresh my understanding
of your system.

************************ BTW, I have recently seen an infomercial on "Straight Shootin Golf". This instructor claims, no other instructor teaches the same principles he teaches. He says, "The PGA of America teaches their instructors dead end techniques which are passed along to students". He also states, you have to be a phenomenal athlete to use
traditional instruction for the golf swing.

First of all, the technique he uses is the same as Moe Norman's from the 60's and 70's. Secondly, I don't like his inference that all other instructors teach the wrong and/or less effective things.

Date: Oct 7 1998 11:47AM
Author: Harald
eMail: *

Dear Jonathan,

I am glad to hear that you'll be buying my book. It sounds as though you are not familiar with my entire teaching system, as you are making assumptions based on pieces of information that you then fit into a PSIA or traditional context or point of view. My approach does not fit into traditional concepts; it is a different language. It cannot be defined by traditional standards, for it is based in scientific principles.

Thousands of skiers have learned that this is a revolutionary way to ski. Viewing one piece of the program at a time cannot convey its revolutionary nature. "Evolutionary" is PSIA adding emphasis to edging skills on shaped skis; "revolutionary" is a different progression of movement for all skiers on all equipment. If you are teaching converging-tip progressions, you are teaching dead-end skills. If you don't believe they are dead-end skills, you might change your mind with the accurate understanding of biomechanics and kinesiology that is fundamental to our training.

We know the system is revolutionary and incredibly effective because countless skiers write, call and e-mail us. They all say the same thing: they have made more progress within a few days using my systems by reading a book than from all their other lessons combined. Instructors who are trained in the system have the same reaction.

I'm always amused that the layman can take my methods and recognize how different they are from other lessons, yet most certified ski instructors make comments such as yours. I'd like to believe that a lack of complete information creates this instructor response. I am pleased to see that you are buying the
book to learn about the complete system.

Your comment about Motivational Teaching demonstrates the same interpretation. You are judging the system based on a few sentences on a web site. There are three ski schools using the system now instead of previous methods and they consider it fundamentally different in approach compared to the Teaching Model. It is the first approach that addresses the needs of the individual skier, rather than classifying the skier. To be effective, it does require a complete understanding of the Primar Movements Teaching System.

You are right about our web site. It is a marketing tool and is not the source of our educational material. We have complete training manuals and visual presentations that are part of our instructor education and accreditation system. Our goal, as stated, is to make skiing easier and faster to learn. We are accomplishing this and we encourage all who are in the ski industry to join our movement. We can turn this industry around, create opportunities, and make it prosperous.


Harald R. Harb President, Harb Ski Systems


Date: Oct 7 1998 7:10PM
Author: Jonathan
eMail: *

Harald, thank you for the Quick reply.

You stated, "My approach does not fit into traditional concepts; it is a different language. It cannot be defined by traditional standards, for it is based in scientific principles".

Just because you use different jargon it does not make it a revolution. In addition, my understanding is that PSIA does use scientific principles for definition of movement.

*************** You wrote,"If you are teaching converging-tip progressions, you are teaching dead-end skills. If you don't believe they are dead-end skills, you might change your mind with the accurate understanding of biomechanics and kinesiology that is fundamental to our training"

Although, I may have some traditional beliefs, my background in kinesiology and understanding of biomechanics is better than most. I studied for two summers at UCLA in the kinesiology field of study. I was a runner/advisor for my
university, and worked in the optimum performance lab for our National Championship Track and Cross Country Program. One of my athletes was on the US Olympic 1500m squad in the last olympics.

Secondly, my "scientific" use of the wedge is to develop Rotary skills. I ardently believe Rotary is an OPEN Ended skill, as I'm sure you must. "Converging tip progressions/milestones", such as the wedge turn and wedge
Christy are manuevers I use to develop the Skills PSIA defines (Rotary,EdgeCM, and Pressure CM). They are also used to develop a broad base of manuevers in a skier's arsenal.

Your website is not clear enough in defining the "Primary Skills", so I was not able to evaluate them. (But if you'd like to share, we are all ears).

************* 3)You said, "Your comment about Motivational Teaching demonstrates the same interpretation. You are judging the system based on a few sentences on a web site".

You said to go there to find out more specifics of the Harb Ski System. I read what you wrote, and then commented. You can not fault me for that.

*********** 4) "It is the first approach (HSS) that addresses the needs of the individual skier, rather than classifying the skier".

Classifiying the skier? Come on. You helped write the ATS 3 book, didn't you. My understanding is that you taylor a lesson to the student, based on the individual preferences of the student..... This is "addressing the needs of the individual skier". I've been doing that for quite awhile now (since I began learning this from trainers/coaches (not just in PSIA)). Therefore, your approach is not the "First
Approach". Granted, I do applaud your use of Scientific tools for evaluating an individual's performance, bootfit, and skis.


"To be effective, it does require a complete understanding of the Primary Movements Teaching System" I am looking forward to reading your book to improve my knowledge of your system. As well as your definitions of Primary Movements.

"Our goal, as stated, is to make skiing easier
and faster to learn. "

Kudos to you for such a worthwhile goal. It is something the ski industry does need. More students that go farther than the first ski vacation. I to believe in developing a skier to maximize his/her potential.

I think the turn around is underway.....It started with less expensive skiing. $200 season passes in the Front Range of Colorado.

I believe I can speak for everyone in this forum when I say, thank your for your participation.


Date: Oct 7 1998 8:55PM
Author: Harald
eMail: *

Dear Skiers,

The answers to many of your questions are clearly explained in my book "Anyone Can Be an Expert Skier". Presently I am writing and compiling photos and drawings for our current
project the Primary Movements Teaching System Instructor Training Manual. It has clear explanations of what a biomechanically accurate system entails. It probably won't
let you sleep at night until you get it.

I wish I had the time to indulge in this educational forum and answer all of the questions indivdually on an ongoing basis but as I am behind my deadline already, I am forced off the Internet by my publisher. My weekly allocation is used up. The manual will be at the publisher in three weeks. After
that, I will be travelling the country training ski schools and instructors from November through April. We have a number
of instructor accreditations scheduled in the different regions. One last comment, I had nothing to do with the teaching or mechanics sections of the PSIA Manual. I wrote the alignment and the shaped ski portions. In particular, I am proud of the statement in the manual "initiating a turn with rotary movements is unnecessary" a revolutionary idea
for the understanding of that time.

Our Harb Ski Systems have continued to evolve since then and now we offer directparallel skiing to beginners within three hours. There is skidding in this system but it is functional and controllable. I hope to continue this forum on the slopes, enjoy the season, and keep up the discussion.


Date: Oct 7 1998 11:22PM
Author: Jonathan
eMail: *

Here goes...........I am proud of the statement in the manual "initiating a turn with rotary movements is unnecessary", states Harald. Well this is true, and you can also hit a golf ball straight without hinging your wrists. Unfortunately, you severely limit your ability for play to your full potential without artifically narrowed lateral boundries".

I Agree it is a wonderful move, taking out the rotary out of the initiation of turns. I have alot of fun doing it...Medium or Long Radius turns in the bumps. Or Watching Hermann Maire
or Michael Von Grunegen (sp?) to it on the GS Course. It's wonderful how it's can be so efficient.

Team Breck (race team in Breckenridge) has a program called "Breck Tech". BT is derived from a similar premise.. John Leffler is the head Coach and author of Breck Tech. I have the manual, and have read through it. Very Technical, very Correct...for specific skiing techniques. Too bad the racers that use Breck Tech are only average or below average bump and powder skiers.

Although, when your article came out in Skiing or Ski Magazine, we had several of the National Teams training in Breckenridge.

Several instructors and I video taped slalom
runs as well as GS (including Austria A-team). Funny thing, while in GS the strived for mild to very little rotary movements, although they used as much as necessary. Sometimes that was alot (ie. recovery moves). In Slalom, they did used a significant amount of rotary....Legs, hips, sometimes shoulder (counter-rotation usually).

Ideally they strived to Turn the Legs and keep their center moving inside the Gates.They would sometimes set up their next turn by turning on a "flat" ski in order to set themselves up for the next turn. Watch Tomba closely.

Conclusion: the best skiers in the World
USE ROTARY to initiate a turn, why shouldn't we!

Strange how a conversation circles back to its Origins. Isn't it Phil.

Boy Im sure glad Johnny Mosely was taught with "Traditional" methods. I love that guy's movements in the bumps. Subtle rotary through out the turn. Puuuuure.

And then back to the revolutionary statement..Don't initiate a turn with rotary movements.. I guess Dalton McRerry (straight Shootin' golf) would be proud.

The Kinestetic/Biomechanical reality is that the human hip socket IS designed for Circumduction and Axial Motion. That's
Kinestetic/Biomechanic FACT. In other words, if you got it..... you can use it. The amount necessary is an INDIVIDUAL decision for the specific situation. I think not exposing the
student to this Skill is an injustice to skiers who want to achieve their potential, if for no other reason than for them to have it in their bag of tricks.

Harald, I look forward to hearing more about your "system", but for now I am your most disciplined skeptic.
I am tired of hearing how Superior In All ways your program is. Does your system have a 90% or better success rate with ALL students in a two hour group lessons, or in ALL conditions.. Fall line bumps,chutes, glades and steeps for example. If not, my "system" is better. If so, congrats.....your system is revolutionary!!!

Your system is based on a multiple session process, I would guess. This would be revolutionary and very welcome as far as
I am concerned! i.e. Taos Ski Weeks or other similar programs.

best Regards, good luck with the deadline. j


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[This message has been edited by Tog (edited May 23, 2001).]</FONT>
post #2 of 13

The only thing that hasn't changed is that you still haven't got certified. How can you really claim to know their system, when you're not certified in it?

BTW, there's a few high level PSIA Examiners (higher than you) that are going to be certified this year.

C'mon, Bob. What's the worst that'll happen? You're not going to ski any worse. Look at all the great training you'll get. There's not just one way to ski...
post #3 of 13
oh man! Tog, lets make a deal. you stop posting interesting stuff at these ungodly hours, and so will I. Then maybe we'll both get some sleep! Meanwhile, its 1:00am here, and Harb's stuff sounds like a late night infomercial.
Was that our Jonathan Lawson?
I need a stronger brand of Melatonin!

Be Braver in your body, or your luck will leave you. DH Lawrence
post #4 of 13

I'm being straight up here.

A man of your reputation, and everything else, I mean jeez, you're a skiing heavyweight - your credentials speak for themselves.

You, of anyone should go and spend 3 days with this guy just to see what the fuss is all about. Drop the gloves and show up to his camp.

I'm not qualified to talk about PSIA and even instruction, for that matter. And I'm not going to. Slap me if you see me doing it.

You have some very strong opinions and observations about Harb. In my mind, you really have no business making some of those posts you do - unless you become certified. Then, and only then, can you at least say, "I really understand this system and here's what I see".

Okay, since cost is your only objection,
I'm proposing that the members of this forum all chip in equally and send Bob to PMTS certification - tell me where to send the check.

I don't see how readers can truly respect/trust your opinion until then.<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by SCSA (edited May 23, 2001).]</FONT>
post #5 of 13
we'd truly respect and trust his opinions because he takes diverse training activities and tells us things for all of them. Not just one system.
post #6 of 13
Hey, this reminds me to ask : have I been taught under 3 systems? First, I had my ex. We can file that under chaos (Kaos?) theory (isn't that a system?), though I shall report that he does teach the wedge (aka snowplow). Second, I've had lessons at various NE resorts, such as Killington, Mt Snow, Gore, to name a few. File under PSIA, eh? Finally, that week at Les Deux Alpes, 1 group lesson with the Mt's own school and several private lessons with a St Christophe instructor. Have no clue what they go by. Of course, this still doesn't make me better than level 5-6, but one lady at Gore thought I'd make a good instructor (must be from too much academic schooling). Oi!

I know -- back to work!


Dante non ha mai immaginato questo cerchio dell'inferno!
post #7 of 13
Tog, it was on SkiNet, I think... you know, I have taken Harb's book and gone through the the maneuvers and they ski alright, no problems.

I respect the man, but I don't like him, mainly because of his deragatory remarks about the rest of the hard working instructors. Had he offered an invitation to PSIA trained instructors to look over his system without running them down, he may have had a better following among them.

As I mentioned before, he could benefit from a lesson on how to handle people from Stein Ericksen.

One thing I give him, he is controversial enough to have kept me on this forum after I signed off for the Summer over a month ago

post #8 of 13
I was going to let XSCHUSS die a quick quiet death, BUT DID SOMEONE SAY, "... LATE NIGHT INFOMERCIAL!?" (Just kidding. No, I'm done. Really.)

BE the skis!
post #9 of 13
SCSA you said "I don't see how readers can truly respect/trust your opinion until then."
Please don't tell me that you need to be certified in PMTS in order to have an educated opinion. Bob's experience in skiing and teaching should be more than sufficient to analyze a "new" movement or a "new" teaching system and provide an opinion that is worthy of trust and respect.
Besides PMTS is not rocket science. Any expert skier (even without a formal teaching background) can read the literature and try the movements on the hill to decide for himself/herself. I hope you realize that for most advanced or expert skiers PMTS is nothing new or special. Admittedly, as a teaching tool it is great (for lower level skiers). But the wedge-phobia, excessively narrow stance, one-footed emphasis and the anti-rotation diatribes are not very constructive ways to sell this system to ski pros.
post #10 of 13
BS! Read the article that Ryan just posted. Ski instruction is broken, big time.

And sure, I'll pay. Like I said, where do I send the check?
post #11 of 13

Interesting post. I agree with BB - Not much has changed.

I have had a number of opportunities to observe HH skiing and running training clinics. As for being "revolutionary", a lot of what I've seen in the clinics falls in the category of what I call "same stuff, different words".

Something that I have not seen discussed in any of these threads concerning PMTS is that there is nothing in PSIA's methodology that prevents teaching beginners using a direct to parallel approach. I went to a two day clinic in January "Three Steps to Success" which presented a progression to do exactly that. The clinic leader was the RM Region Exec Director, which tells me that this concept is embraced within PSIA at pretty high levels. As I understand it, similar progressions are already being used by some of the major destination areas. BTW it is not plagierized from HH.

Where I work some of us have adapted the direct parallel progression to our teaching terrain and group lesson length, 2 1/2 hours, which is really too short. My experience has been that some people begin making parallel turns right away, while others automatically go into a wedge, even though I have not demonstrated it or talked about it.

One problem is that we're stuck with the equipment that they bring from elsewhere, and we don't have any control over what they get from our rental shop. Too bad, because equipment appears to be a big factor in going directly to parallel.

Every lesson is different. There are a lot of ways to teach - the more things you have in your bag of tricks, the easier it is to tailor a lesson which will work on a given day for a given person or group. PSIA as an organization does not teach a rigid system, nor does it teach dead end moves.

post #12 of 13
Thread Starter 
JimL good post. It's interesting that the very thing abhored by some here- that there's only one right way to ski, seems to fit pmts, not psia.

Scsi, hey send Bob to camp if he'll go that's great. Personally I think he'd be better served by going to a new school camp to learn some air moves and go big! Now that'd be cool hey Bob?

From the PMTS Instructor's Manual:
First the old:

>>Traditional teaching systems build a foundation of movements that are not consistent with the mechanics of parallel skiing.
- Wedge: static, two-footed; uses big toe edges to scrape against the snow.
- Wedge turn: foot steering and leg twisting are used to change direction; static, two-footed stance; uses both big-toe edges at once
-Wedge Christie: Complicated, difficult maneuver uses leg steering; big-toe edge dominant << pg. RM-35

There's a bunch of comparison's PMTS vs TTSs (Traditional Teaching Systems) but I can't quote too much.
Here's the essence of the PMTS approach:

>>A historic weakness in skiing mechanics, with origins as far back as the Arlberg Technique, is the lack of a clear movement description for releasing the stance ski.

...In the PMTS, the release begins at the stance foot and leads the tipping transition. Tipping transmits motion up the kinetic chain, moving the CM into the turn. The body inclination that results helps the outside ski passively maintain a tipping angle equal to the inside ski. << -pg. RM-36

here's one line that Bob might argue with? :

>> A deliberate and early weight transfer will accelerate any skier's progress.<<

By the way, Lito is mentioned and is said to use basically the same movements as PMTS. Lito calls inside ski tipping "Phantom Edging".

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[This message has been edited by Tog (edited May 25, 2001).]</FONT>
post #13 of 13
Thread Starter 
Here's a little more. Talking about "Student Directed Ski Instruction (SDSI)"
[note: if HH fails with this he can always get a job with the military coming up with ridiculous acronyms]

>>Traditional Teaching Systems (TTSs) may become obsolete not only for their antiquated movements, but for their inappropriate orientations to teaching....

The introduction of the Primary Movements Teaching Systems solidifes the need for accurate teaching techniques and sound instructional philosophies. ...

The PMTS addresses the issue of a partnership by allowing instructors the freedom to identify individual movement patterns and efficiently address those patterns based on real information. ...

...In order for the lesson to be an educational experience, however, the instructor must possess the ability to identify and utilize the experiences of the student. TTSs leave little room for any experience outside the predictable realm of the linear lesson. A linear lesson is any ski experience that follows a step-by-step approach to producing an outcome. ... << -pg. SD-6 Instructor's manual

I have to say the writing in this is much better than "Anyone Can Be...1". I hope you appreciate how revolutionary all this is. "We're standing on history's doorstep..."

(and it's doorbell night?)

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[This message has been edited by Tog (edited May 25, 2001).]</FONT>
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