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Harald Harb Letter to EpicSki Community - Page 3

post #61 of 206
>>>but I got that through the Natur Technique in the 60's from Ernie Mulbauer who got that from ......?<<<

....from Walter Foeger of Jay Peak VT, the 'inventor' of the Natur Teknik direct parallel ski teaching method.

post #62 of 206
In my quest to become a better skier no matter what my age, I have just finished watching Harald Harb's Anyone Can Be An Expert Skier #1 video.

Perhaps some of us are already cooperating with Mr. Harb. At the end of the film the credits mention the participating skiers, one of which was Bob Barnes. Bob Barnes was also thanked for his contributions to the film.

Is there another Bob Barnes? [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]

post #63 of 206
post #64 of 206
Melf: Yes, there is. The other Bob Barnes is at Winter Park.

And I still want to see a one-one-one discussion/debate between HH and our Bob Barnes. Get rid of the messengers and let's hear what you have to say.

[ October 23, 2003, 06:23 PM: Message edited by: mike_m ]
post #65 of 206
The other Bob Barnes and Harald were on the D-Team at the same time.

Yuki, Harald's color scheme, green, blue, and black, probably relate to terrain ratings.
post #66 of 206
Originally posted by Mescalero:
With squirrels scurrying hurriedly after them.
Now that is funny

Okay Harb dude, never met him, read all his books and watched his videos (sorry HH borrowed them from the Avon library [img]tongue.gif[/img] ) and found it all very interesting and useful. Blend a little HH with some PSIA n some APSIA n some Swinging from the Professor H, get your parochial butt to a few different countries for some teaching in another language, ski with the "gang" n the outcasts, ski with interesting, passionate, FUN folks like SCSA n Jason n Dee (Vail), hang out on Epic n Powder n Snow.com, get amongst the kids and parents on your icy, flat and sometimes brilliant local hill, ski every bloody mountain you can get too AND it all gets blended into SKIING.

That is the recipe. Bake the cake if ya willing BUT do not diss the passion of ski folks that make huge contributions to the sport (and a living from their love).

Good waves today, warm sunny and offshore.

Oz [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #67 of 206
Whoa, Harb wrote to AC:

I understand PSIA trying to take credit for my developments and interpreting into their language what I wrote in my "Anyone can be an Expert Skier book and the PMTS Instructor Manual. I know these have been dissected by demo team members in their attempts to include as much as my materials and ideas as possible without infringing on copyright and trademarks.

I understand how some people would
like to take credit for my work. I clearly stated to a PSIA official last week that if any more of my materials are translated into PSIA speak that I would have to protect myself. I openly offer my materials to PSIA without restriction, as long as the foot notes and references are properly associated. I have already done this for the Central Division.

Wow, Harb goes to great detail addressing his concerns about others taking credit for his "developments" and possibly protecting himself from those who infringe on his copyright and trademarks.

Recently I skimmed his book "Anyone Can Be An Expert Skier, 1", copyright 2001, and in Chapter 12 "Alignment" Fig 12-1 (page 174) clearly shows two black and white photos of a bowlegged skier before and after alignment.

Ok..... but in "The Athletic Skier" by Witherell and Evard the third printing,1998, on page 50 shows this exact same skier in two color photos!

What gives here....I cannot find Harb's credit to Witherell and Evrard for the photos. Or are the photos Harbs from prior to Witherell/Evrard book being published.

post #68 of 206
Oz, I don't think this whole thing is about skiing, it is about the better, or different approach to TEACHING skiing. Once you know how to ski even at an intermediate level the whole thing of teaching approach becomes moot.

ANY good ski teacher will look at you and asess where you are and teach you what you don't know. Dogma about stance,, weight shift (or not)etc. are besides the point if they don't hinder your skiing and changing it wont improve you, I'd leave it alone.

Teaching systems are guides for the instructor, but one size indeed does not fit all, so the instructor has to shape the lesson to fit the present subject, but fixing what isn't broke just to conform to a book is useless.

I often see some excellent skiers making the same excellent turn with totaly different styles, hand positions, countered or square and whatever and making them bring their hands up if it is uncomfortable for them is counterproductive.

One of the smoothest skier I know looks jerky because, even though the skis carve evenly, he brings his hand up and forward with a very quick motion before the pole set. Several of us have tried to improve his LOOKS by asking him not to drop the hands between pole plant with the result that he could no longer make smooth turns. His timing and turn coordination was synchronized with the style of his hand motion and changing that spoiled his timing.

post #69 of 206
Some thoughts on the whole issue of a teaching system. IMHO a good teaching model should be easy to demo (also means it works in realty!), easy to teach and communicate and easy to perform the specifc movements being conveyed by the Pro. The Primary Movements of PMTS are all of these and they are consistent through ability levels and snow/terrain/speed demands. This is very good!

As some here know, I have spent most of my teaching career working with intermediate and advanced skiers to ski the whole mountain. My personal quest (if you will) has been to define and focus on teaching universal movements of good skiing. What are the most important movements that result in good skiing for the most people (including myself!) in the most conditions. This quest began with the inception of the X-Team Advanced Ski Clincs in 1991.

Back then, to ski well used to be more complicated with skinny skis. More complicated and difficult fore-aft pressuring, up and down, an dgenerally more adaptive type moves to compensate for snow and terrain variations. Then since shaped skis came in to play, things have changed. It is easier to ski well on modern skis; various shapes, widths and superior materials have made the mountain accessible and fun for more skiers.

A few years ago, like six, my brother, Rob, and I got together with HH and shot the breeze on technique. Pretty much everything HH was teaching and preaching clicked with the techniques Rob and I had been working on for years in off-piste skiing with our people. Particulary, the relax to release movment and leading the edge eith the same, new inside foot. This move works ALL the time (I should never say ALL but you get the idea). HH would say something like this movement is biomechanically based in the fact theat the outside foot and ski will be have to be on edge and turning when the inside foot is doing the same (though usually with less weight on it). This is true unless you happen to have spent your entire life on a horse and are right there with world's most bow-legged cowboys (bowlegged girls are a rarity bu tnot unheard of).

So...whatever, there's no perfect way to ski or teach but if we define a good teaching method as being easy to demo, easy to communicate to other Pros and clients alike, and easy to perform movements that result in good skiing that a person can feel in their skiing then PMTS (and whatI teach personally and with my staff at All Mountain Ski Pros) then this is a good way to do it. In mine and Rob's book, you will probably notice some similarties to HH's stuff. It's true because it is close,it works. Like I said we were headed in the same direction and things really clicked. Did we infringe on copyrights? Heck no, you will see similariteis with other more classic models too. The material in the book is our take on solid all-mountain ski technique that works for us and works for our clients. I see results all the time and so do my staff. So... I would say that a PMTS oriented teaching model is not the only way, but it is one way that certainly works.

And PSIA? Ce la Vi! Whatever works for you! My only real gripe is the apparent lack of support for the Professinal Ski Instructors in America. Why can't PSIA stick up for the Pros? It's so hard to make a living teaching skiing, that most full time skiers don't teach because they can't make ends meet AND they sacrifice some of their own personal ski time. Also, I would wager that the average margin for resort ski schools is over 50% and probably closer to 65%. That does not leave much for the Pro. This does not bode well for the public either, becuase no offence to PT people, but most folks would agree that the best lessons are taught by full-time full-cert Pros who have dedicated a considerable portion of their personal and professinal lives to skiiing and ski teaching. We, as an industry and PSIA as a quasi-Representative Body should do the same by supporting the Professinals with good wages for good teaching.

Well...this post certainly took off in a cloud of dust! Anyway, just wanted to offer a couple thoughts and humble opiions for the Collective.

post #70 of 206
I've never met Harald Harb. I've skied with and spoken with several individuals that took lessons from him or were his peers at the time he was at Alyeska. Opinions of him are very polarized, much like they are here. There a lot of things I've heard that make me unlikely to actively follow him, although due to their secondhand and generally unproductive nature I won't repeat them here. However, everyone agreed he was a talented skier and race coach.

I read Harald's first book and got the video, but didn't particularly find the format helpful. Probably says more about the way that I learn than anything else. My results with a PMTS instructor would probably be much different. I disagree with several of his opinions (notably stance width and weight distribution), but a lot of his information I agree with. It's very possible I can revisit in a few years and put what he has written in context and develop a more informed opinion of the system.

However, his approach to marketing his "system" is what most people in PSIA took issue with. He attacked their life's work (justified or not) first and took credit for a great deal of concepts pioneered by others (as has been documented elsewhere). Not exactly a great justification for responding in kind, but the "Breaking Wind" thread was intended as more of a parody of a Harald-Lito PSIA bashing session than as an outright attack on the man himself. It probably did cross the line, however, and for my part in that I am sorry.

I still stand by my statement that vectored bodily gas can be an effective technique.

I honestly think PMTS has a future, but not in the typical resort ski school format. I think its true niche is with skiers who want to advance their skiing constantly under a relatively stable set of guidelines. To have a general idea of what skill set a skier has without direct supervision allows for more use of e-mail and websites, as well as providing a market for videos and books. It's a modern concept, and one I expect Mr Harb to explore fully in years to come. It's a luxury PSIA doesn't have.

That said, I believe there's nothing like the direct supervision of a talented coach/instructor to guide skier development.
post #71 of 206
Originally posted by Alaska Mike:
To have a general idea of what skill set a skier has without direct supervision allows for more use of e-mail and websites, as well as providing a market for videos and books. It's a modern concept, and one I expect Mr Harb to explore fully in years to come. It's a luxury PSIA doesn't have.

That said, I believe there's nothing like the direct supervision of a talented coach/instructor to guide skier development.
Interesting thoughts. Perhaps the EpicSki Academy model, with it's year long website and e-mail contact with students, is the wave of the future.
post #72 of 206
Originally posted by ESki:
Like I said we were headed in the same direction and things really clicked. Did we infringe on copyrights? Heck no, you will see similariteis with other more classic models too.
It cannot be gainsaid that reactions to Harald Harb's hit-and-run letter to AC have less to do with sking and teaching skiing than with his whining, castigating others, and holding himself out as THE oracle.

HH is not a god and the one and only authority, and it is silly that he appears to hold himself out to be so.

If HH really believes that his property rights have been taken illegally, I wish he'd go to court and have it done with, rather than whining, whining, whining. That conduct need not be viewed as passing gas to be obnoxious, petty and petulant. The analogy, however, is not without value.
post #73 of 206
Originally posted by ESki:
And PSIA? Ce la Vi! Whatever works for you! My only real gripe is the apparent lack of support for the Professinal Ski Instructors in America. Why can't PSIA stick up for the Pros?
This has been the subject of spirited discussions here in the past. The question for PSIA is whether is will be more than a setter of standards, and that's a question for the membership. Some unions do both - but they're still unions. Will PSIA or the skiing public benefit from a "guild" PSIA?

Has Harald Harb done more than PSIA to "stick up for the pros"? If so, it hasn't been apparent here, and neither has it been a subject I've ever knowm him to raise - which is only one of the reasons why this always tantalizing subject works better on another thread.
post #74 of 206
Hi Harald,

I hope you are reading. I'd like to second the invitation to have you join in on EpicSki's forums. There are over 5000 qualified buyers of your products on this site. You would do well to get close to them if you want to grow your business.

I'm sure you know about gateway communities, the influentials, metacognition, and all the other interesting New Age forms spawned by mass communication.

Come in. You have nothing to fear from us but probing questions, resistance, and sometimes our own fear projecting back at you. The upside is you may also experience curiosity, interest, and understanding from us.

I have mourned the loss of Fastman, DavidM, and some of the other deviants (a word I use in a profoundly affectionate way) who passed through and have moved on. Anyway, Harald, even if you're only passing through, it would be nice if you could stay for a while.


Joan Rostad

P.S. I keep Harald's book right next to the PSIA Alpine Manual on my bookshelf. There's good stuff in both. This thing about methodology mirrors the thing about technique--it's not a convergent path to the ONE WAY, it is a divergent path to VERSATILITY that makes one a master of skiing.

[ October 24, 2003, 08:00 AM: Message edited by: nolo ]
post #75 of 206
Nice post, ESki. I think there's no better validity test than the one each of us does for ourselves; and when we see it work with students, it's even more convincing. I'd wager that the same Elements run through all the valid systems, institutional and individual, out there today. These are not open to interpretation--though certainly some have tried to interpret rotary movements out of the Elements. Beyond the Elements there is a whole world of interpretation, and that's where we get into a competitive arena.
post #76 of 206
Hi nolo,

Bill Kidd, Eric and Rob, Tommy Moe, the Mahre brothers, EpicSki, et al, have found a special niche in teaching skiing to a targeted client base. HH should be credited to have developed a system of teaching that includes beginners to experts.

In his rush to replace the PSIA teaching system nationwide he overlooked the specialized needs of ski areas which have limited terrain to teach in, crowded classes of 15-20 students of beginners for ONE HOUR.

While PSIA gives an instructor latitude to adapt to the situation at hand as long as the maneuvers taught are basically correct and can be built upon in later classes, HH has in his system for beginners a model that needs wide opens slopes, a smaller class and an attentive student (hard to come by with junior high school students).

Unless he can modify his system to include the restrictions instructors face in the above situations which are true in most ski areas near urban centers which cater to schools, he simply cannot expect to supplant the existing model with his more rigid system (no wedge, etc) though superior it may be.

I think he was too ambitious in implimenting his system. It doesn't work everywhere or for everyone as schools which adopted it and then dropped it shows. It has a place as a niche system like the above mentioned, who, BTW, may not like or respect the PSIA model but survived without bashing it.

But as you say, there is much good in his system and we would welcome discussing it with him, but he would have to be thick skinned and patient.

post #77 of 206
Originally posted by AC:

First a little history, I did not learn anything about skiing or teaching mechanics from PSIA systems. I am openly known for rejecting them from the on set of my involvement with PSIA.

Given the context of the above I would suggest it would be futile for HH to participate in an open discourse if everything "they" put forth is rejected.

I find it mind boggling that Mr Harb finds no redeeming qualities in the teachings espoused by PSIA. Rejection from the on set (sic) is what the guy says.

I have an open question for Mr Harb and/or anyone associated with PMTS. How many instructors were certified last year at any PMTS level?

I have been given a number and I'm merely seeking confirmation. If the number I was told is correct,I would question how widely PMTS is being embraced among the instructor community.
post #78 of 206
How does the HH system compare with the European systems?

Has there ever been any feed back as part of Interski?

"Imagine a Congress in which all of those present get along well and are actually interested in viewpoints that differ from their own" .....

.... from the intro paragraph in Professional Skier regarding the 2003 meet.
post #79 of 206
it is a divergent path to VERSATILITY that makes one a master of skiing.
With all due respect Rusty I think you should leave this thread alone and follow Nolo advice this winter. I think Eski said the same thing and this common theme was what my post was all about.

The trick is not to argue but to absorb.

Oz [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #80 of 206
Originally posted by man from Oz:

The trick is not to argue but to absorb.

Oz [img]smile.gif[/img]
Oz - I would have loved to absorb (you know I'm an info junky) - but HH & Diana could not put it into anything that was useful to me....
If you have read the stuff do you want to "translate" it for me next season please? I sort of get lost about the spot I need to stand on 1 ski....

I am still working on the balance stuff (Ball classes at the AIS) as I agree that helping stance & balance ha sbeen THE most important thing my current instructors do...

However if I need to ski on 1 ski to be able to ski at all - I'm history - I'll never ski at any decent level!
post #81 of 206

I posted something two weeks ago concerning versatility based upon a conversation that I had with Jennifer Metz.

I agree that absorbing information is important.

I also think critical thinking is important.

I merely disagree with the PMTS progression and I have alluded to the basis for my disagreement. I have explained my criticism ad nauseum, however, to reiterate, it involves two predominant components;

Balance Transfer
Stance Foot

My ancillary concerns are "lifting and lightening".

I applaud you for being open minded as well as free thinking. I think there comes a time when one must ferret out the good vs. the bad.

That is why yhey call a forum a forum isn't it?
post #82 of 206
For me, the most significant thing I picked up from HH is his emphasis on the inside foot in turn initiation. Beyond that, PMTS seems too narrow and dogmatic. I don't see where it leads to versatilty, as others have mentioned.
I also don't understand why HH indulged in so much PSIA-bashing. If you could dredge up the PMTS website from 2 or 3 years ago, you would find it full complaints about PSIA. Most of that stuff has been removed, but why was it necessary in the first place? If HH were trying to get instructors to buy in to PMTS, why would he think degrading the only recognized ceertification we have would make us accept PMTS?
I think PMTS is fading away. At least one event was cancelled this year for lack of interest, and the list of certified instructors and resorts does not seem to be growing either. Even the website seems less active than it was a couple of years ago.
I think the fundamental problem of ski instruction is that very few skiers commit enough time to truly learn the basic skills.
few take lessons beyond the learn to ski lesson. On the other hand, new instructors who clinic regularly improve fairly rapidly, using PSIA methods. It's all about how much time and energy you put into it.

Regards, John
I also think PMTS is fading away.
post #83 of 206
Two years ago they held a PMTS clinic at Tyrol that I attended for a day to observe. I don't know the exact number that went for certification but I was told that no one passed.
When I asked a friend who was a Level III PSIA, he complained that there was no study guide and that everything had to be learned on the hill at the clinic.
I personally skied with Arcmeister, in a group that wasn't going for cert, and found his teaching to be simialer to what he had been teaching the last time I cliniced with him at a PSIA event.(before there was PMTS)
I observed HH skiing only one run and asked, "what's this guy doing, trying to look like Stien in the old days?" Then I was told "that was Harald".
I have tha videos but not the book. I didn't see that closed, contrived stance in them. In general, I feel that the basics are pretty good but nothing I hadn't heard before I'd heard of HH. In fact I've been coaching longer than I've been with PSIA and I'd never heard of HH until he started writing articles in SKI Magazine.
When I first got involved with PSIA, 20 years ago, they were pretty dogmatic. Over the years it's gotten a lot better. My gripe with PMTS is not the content,(contrived narrow stance excepted)it's the dogma that goes with it. There's still some of that with some PSIA people. I was told a long time ago that "Technicians watch the best skiers in the world and identify what they're doing then figure out a way to teach it". "That's why there is simialarity from one to the other". It's not really true that someone "invented" a move. They evolve from the athletes.

Oops, I have to correct myself. I found out over the weekend that two people passed at that exam.

[ October 27, 2003, 11:05 AM: Message edited by: SLATZ ]
post #84 of 206
Anyone who chooses to present ideas that they believe are "cutting edge," must be willing to subject their notions to scrutiny. If we believe that "anyone who disagrees with me is a moron and not worth my time,"
than we have little hope of converting anyone to our point of view.

I found a fitness post I made a few years ago about balance training. Most of the responses were skeptical.

"Train on a ball! Are you kidding!!! No! You need to do 12 sets of leg extensions 3 times a week for ski conditioning!"

I was tempted to say the heck with it, and just provide information on my website, where it would not be publically discussed. Hopefully, by continually restating my beliefs, perhaps to the point of obnoxiousness I have prevented a few injuries, and helped people recover from injuries a good deal faster than they would with a more traditional fitness program.

People who present "new ideas" need to be careful about how litigous, and overly "precious" they become about what concepts are really their own, as opposed to their own way of explaining a very old concept.

Take Harb's so called fitness book, "Ski Flex." What you basically have, for the most part, is a Hatha Yoga book with a fancy name. Are the originals Yogis, who believe in reincarnation, going to come back from the dead so that they can sue Harb for "stealing their ideas"? [img]smile.gif[/img]

I am also curious as to why someone who is so focused on balance, would create a "fitness book" that focuses so little on it. There are many cutting edge products that can be used to promote balance, but Harb chose to use only one product, which I believe he helped develop.

Flexibility is also a tricky issue. Some of the stretches in Ski Flex would actually make you have less dynamic balance, if these were areas where you already had too much mobility.

And anyone who is not a fitness professional should not be seen in a book, demonstrating exercises using atrocious form. Since he co-authored the book with a fitness trainer who is more or less a "toy boy," why not use said trainer for the fitness photos.

Enquiring minds want to know, but I guess we never will. :
post #85 of 206
Why anybody would gang up and dump on a guy in this fashion is beyond my understanding. Putting any personal feelings aside one has to give the guy credit for developing a teaching system with some new ideas that breath live into the stagnant systems generally in use. Nobody says he is perfect. But he seems to be the first to analyze and teach turn initiation using the inside foot, a move that comes from racing. This fact alone should earn him a place in the Ski Instructors Hall of Fame. He dispises snow plowing. Who in his right frame of mind doesn't.
And he dispises the PSIA. Nough said.
post #86 of 206
C'mon Wolf,

Did you read his letter? His 'greater than thou' tone left little else to be taken from the letter. I'm sure he sees himself as 'A LEGEND IN HIS OWN MIND' , but his attitudes represent the very things that make much of the ski clique so repulsive to the outside world.

Get real and admit it that the world at large detests this kind of arrogance, and every last person on this board has the right to call him on the carpet for such an attitude!

If he wants respect he should use what he has rightfully earned and been endowed with by the community he lives in. Anything done on his part to broaden that position is nothing more than arrogant posturing.

There is an old saying that fits this situation aptly:


post #87 of 206
Originally posted by Biowolf:
But he seems to be the first to analyze and teach turn initiation using the inside foot, a move that comes from racing. And he dispises the PSIA. Nough said.[/QB]
Dispise is spelled de not di.

I'd grant you a typo, however, the two keys are not even close on the keyboard.

Speaking of not close.

He was not the first to do anything.

Why does anyone despise an organization of professional ski instructors?

[ October 28, 2003, 11:57 AM: Message edited by: Rusty Guy ]
post #88 of 206
Finally, the semi-official point at which all threads MUST die: when people start with spelling corrections. Can we tie a noose on this thread and string it up yet?

Same old Same old.

[ October 28, 2003, 12:21 PM: Message edited by: Mescalero ]
post #89 of 206
post #90 of 206
OK, I'll confess. It was not so subtle sarcasm. I was trying to link an individual's spelling ability, to their conclusions about HH's inventive nature and the reference to PSIA.
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