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Whitefaces's Parallel to Start

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
Has anyone heard of this program? They teach you to ski parallel to start without the snowplow. They also offer a money back guarantee. I am not an instructor, but I was curious about some of your views on this program, and are other mountains offering it?
post #2 of 28
My room mate and team mate is an instructor at Whiteface, and according to him they teach people to ski with ski boards, and then move them to regular skis. He has said that it works remarkably well, because the students can immediately learn to parallel turn, and sometimes even carve... within one day. I'll go ask him more about it and post another reply later.
Later
GREG
post #3 of 28
When I learned 3 seasons ago at Sunappe in NH they gave my wife and me 130s and taught us to parallel right away without any snowplowing.

I had to teach myself how to snowplow so I wouldn't rearend anyone in the liftline.

Of course by a never ever being able to parallel I mean windshield wiper turns.

But that seems good to most beginners.

It was on of the funnest days I ave ever had on skis.

[ January 21, 2004, 01:29 PM: Message edited by: Scalce ]
post #4 of 28
Ullr,

You'll see more and more of this. PSIA is advocating this (they call it Direct To Parallel) as an alternative approach that schools/instructors may choose to teach.

At my home resort (Whitetail, PA), it is up to the instructors discretion to teach this way or not. Key factors include:
short skis - must be 130cm or smaller
athletic ability - people without bones (i.e. no balance) need not apply
room on the mountain - on busy days there is no room for beginners to carve turns at the bottom
post #5 of 28
Generally we teach a little bit of wedge for first time skiers, (read as little as possible) to get the turn going but I gave one lesson to a small child (she must have been maybe 9 or 10) who was going down the fall line of a green run during her first ever day on skis trying to turn and began tilting her legs inside to play with the edges and I could see she was trying to see what it did. The next ride up the rope tow she carved rail road tracks down the green run from top to bottom from edging alone, no skidding or stemming. This happened fairly early on when I started teaching beginners and it really let me know how teaching on the new skis was diferent fro when I began on the straights. It is VERY possible for a first time skier to end their first day parallel and even carving so if this program claims it, maybe it's worth a second look.
post #6 of 28
I skied with someone who took this program at Whiteface earlier this season and she was skiing solid intermediate trails and was confident and doing great. [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]
post #7 of 28
Thread Starter 
Thanks all,

Rusty, do you know if 7 Springs offers it too or just Whitetail. I was planning on taking the family up for 3 days or so to 7 Springs so they could learn to ski. I have a 5 & 4 year old, and a wife. Was looking at the Direct to Parallel for the wife, not really for the kids. She took one lesson about 4 years ago.
post #8 of 28
Quote:
Originally posted by Ullr:
Thanks all,

Rusty, do you know if 7 Springs offers it too or just Whitetail. I was planning on taking the family up for 3 days or so to 7 Springs so they could learn to ski. I have a 5 & 4 year old, and a wife. Was looking at the Direct to Parallel for the wife, not really for the kids. She took one lesson about 4 years ago.
We do not teach direct to parallel at 7S. A) our rentals are not that short B) our terrain and sheer amount of bodies on the hill dictates otherwise.

That said, many of us will teach a modified version of it to the appropriate student. Particularly one with a heavy skating background (inline or ice). If I/we notice they have exceptional balance we roll with it. We will however still teach the braking wedge for safety purposes...you must have that skill on 7S's terrain for various reasons.
post #9 of 28
Thread Starter 
Judging from your response am I to assume you are an instructor @ 7S? If so I may give you a 36 year old female in decent physical condition with an irrational fear of speed sometime in Feb.
post #10 of 28
The systems used for Direct Parallel with shaped skis originated with Harald Harb. They can be learned and taught either through his book “Anyone can be an Expert Skier 1 or through his Instructor Manual. The first ski school in the country to use it starting in 1998 was near Chicago, with Ski School Director, Mel Brown. She is both a PSIA examiner, coach and PMTS examiner. Since then many ski schools and instructors have begun to copy and use the system. Ski Area Management Magazine did a very favorable article about the Harb System, called PMTS from the Sol Vista Ski Resort near, Granby Colorado. Now PSIA Central is requiring all newly certified instructors have a working knowledge of PMTS Direct Parallel. PSIA also recommends PMTS Direct Parallel as the Direct Parallel alternative to normal wedge progression lessons.
post #11 of 28
Quote:
Originally posted by Ullr:
Judging from your response am I to assume you are an instructor @ 7S? If so I may give you a 36 year old female in decent physical condition with an irrational fear of speed sometime in Feb.
Ullr, I am an instructor at 7S, so is my wife if she would prefer a female instructor who also doesn't like excessive speed.

Either of us would be happy to instruct. PM a couple days before coming up.
post #12 of 28
Thread Starter 
Will do. If your wife does the instruction and you are free maybe we can make a few turns together. I do have one other question. I am going to enroll the kids in the Tiny Tots. It says that it includes equipment. Does that also mean helmets or is it just skies? If it doesn't include helmets, can I rent them at the mountain?

: : :
post #13 of 28
Quote:
Originally posted by Ullr:
Will do. If your wife does the instruction and you are free maybe we can make a few turns together. I do have one other question. I am going to enroll the kids in the Tiny Tots. It says that it includes equipment. Does that also mean helmets or is it just skies? If it doesn't include helmets, can I rent them at the mountain?

: : :
I'm pretty sure helmets are additional and at your discretion. They are available for rent in the rental shop. I will double check this and find a price for you this weekend. Tiny Tots is a totally seperate entity from our regular ski school, so I know little about it. We'll definitely make turns. I'm usually free after 3.
post #14 of 28
Thread Starter 
When you say it is seperate, are you implying that it is more like a daycare and less like good ski instruction? I was looking at it because I want my kids to get three full days. Should I be looking at something else? Any info would be greatly appreciated!
post #15 of 28
No, it is a very good program, but with a seperate director, different uniforms, etc. They even have their own locker room in their own seperate building rather than with ski school. One is hired specifically for Tiny Tots and does not cross over into regular ski school and vice versa.
post #16 of 28
Thread Starter 
Great, it sounds just like what I was looking for. A little mimi camp with instructors who know how to deal with little kids. Even though I am not nor have I ever been an instructor, I wanted someone with an ability and experience with kids. I may even extend this from a 4 to a 5 day vacation.
post #17 of 28
I was skiing parallel from day one. That was due at least in part to stupidity, however - I was unaware that I was signed up for a lesson, so I started learning by myself. I got hurt quite badly (couldn't walk the next day) and strongly recommend against doing this. BUT...

I am pretty convinced that if I had taken a never-ever lesson that first day, I would have ended up taking more lessons along those lines, and wasted a lot of my time with wedging. At this point, I had done a lot of cross-country skiing, so it wasn't as if I had never stood on two skinny planks before. As it was, I took a lower-intermediate lesson the next week (wearing a soft knee brace) and found it was more to my speed: still very beginner oriented, but teaching parallel technique.

I guess that point is, your mileage may vary. For some people, learning from a wedge is best, and it is certainly the easiest for a resort and ski school to use, due to ski slope traffic and other factors. For others, going direct to parallel is probably the best thing to do.

In any case, however, I think every skier should learn both a braking and steering wedge. It's hard to make a hockey stop in a lift line .
post #18 of 28
[quote]Originally posted by carv_lust:
[QB]The systems used for Direct Parallel with shaped skis originated with Harald Harb. The first ski school in the country to use it starting in 1998 was near Chicago, with Ski School Director, Mel Brown. Since then many ski schools and instructors have begun to copy and use the system.

Not true, GLM. : ----------Wigs
post #19 of 28
[quote]Originally posted by Wigs:
Quote:
Originally posted by carv_lust:
[QB]The systems used for Direct Parallel with shaped skis originated with Harald Harb. The first ski school in the country to use it starting in 1998 was near Chicago, with Ski School Director, Mel Brown. Since then many ski schools and instructors have begun to copy and use the system.

Not true, GLM. : ----------Wigs
post #20 of 28
Sorry Wigs, I mis spoke, PMTS Direct Parallel is the only system that gets results. GLM was a failure, as skiers went through a series of pivoting moves and then "Graduated" to the wedge when they went to regular skis.
post #21 of 28
Quote:
Originally posted by carv_lust:
The systems used for Direct Parallel with shaped skis originated with Harald Harb. They can be learned and taught either through his book “Anyone can be an Expert Skier 1 or through his Instructor Manual.

PSIA also recommends PMTS Direct Parallel as the Direct Parallel alternative to normal wedge progression lessons.
carv_lust,

Wether one likes or agrees with the teachings of Harald Harb, I would suggest it is difficult for anyone "learning" to ski to do so via a manual or text.

I am a level III cert and PSIA member. I am not familiar with PSIA "recommending" PMTS as a "direct parallel" alternative. Can you provide me with any documentation of your claim?

I do want to make it clear I am not a proponent of the "PMTS" system.

IMHO PSIA is not "teaching" or advocating any direct to parallel teaching methodology. The Stepping Stones to Parallel Turns provides alternatives based upon student ability,age, equipment, previous hobbies, etc.

In addition, I attempt to convince students that ski instruction.....wait, good ski instruction, is about teaching particular movements. It is not about teaching a particular turn, ie., wedge, wedge christie, or "parallel".

[ February 01, 2004, 03:03 PM: Message edited by: Rusty Guy ]
post #22 of 28
We at Breckenridge have the direct parallel under the learn to ski product. I have taught this product and observe it on a daily basis.
1- Great if you have the correct student ( one out of fifty!)

2- Only as good as the coach that teaches product

3- 3Choosing the equipment to fit the student, have seen a gentleman six foot two on one hundred and thirty ski’s. Ask him who he like it when he pulls a wheellie and shakes the ground.

4- Only as good as the terrain, have observed student do all of the stuff that wedge classes do as it gets steeper. (rotation,bank,lean,push off, etc.)

5- Lack of turn shape to control speed as the design of the ski and tipping will inhibit rotary movement in the average beginner, they can’t control the speed, pressure and get lower and lower till all of the benefits has gone away, IF YOU CAN’T TURN A SKI OR FLATTEN THE SKI WHAT HAS BEEN LEARNED!

These are just my thoughts and I still prefer a wedge to be taught, as it gives that platform to the student. Almost all the rentals I see are much better quality than years past, boots are better and a better end result comes from a student in the traditional method. Also a deeper under standing of the basics.
LARRY
post #23 of 28
Carv_lust

I’m sorry, but I disagree. We have a learn to ski program here in the Ski Schools of Aspen that is called “Beginner’s Magic” This program is a DTP approach and is going on it’s fourth season now, and it’s a very successful program . In fact, much of what PSIA is starting to advocate came from our Ski School. It has taken us awhile to get this program to work like a well oiled machine. But it now does, and we teach thousands of new skiers every year how to ski using a DTP progression in half the time than it did teaching the wedge progression.

There are others in this forum, who says that the approach to direct parallel doesn’t work, or at least doesn’t work at Breck. To say fuweeey on this nonsense shows me that there really hasn’t been much time given at trying to prefect the process, or there’s a lack of training on the progressions, and that “it didn’t work for me” attitude, so therefore it doesn’t work, is a very narrow minded attitude, IMHO. Maybe doing some clinics with trainers that know how to teach this type of program may be better than just going out and trying it with no real training, and then passing judgment. Larry, I’m sorry, but I disagree on almost every point in your post. : ---------------Wigs

[ February 02, 2004, 09:21 AM: Message edited by: Wigs ]
post #24 of 28
Wigs, I agree with your assessment. The Direct Parallel experience at Breckenridge shouldn’t deter others from developing alternatives. I happen to watch the PMTS Direct Parallel program at a mid west ski area and I observed it at Sol Vista, while my wife was attending a Harb Ski Systems, Green Blue Camp. I couldn’t believe what I saw. Skiers in classes as large as ten in a group skied parallel after two hours. Only one skier couldn’t get the hang of it, but that skier would not have learned a wedge either. The next day these students were skiing Blue Green trails with confidence and with parallel movements. I saw none of the stated concerns about railing or run away skis. PMTS teaching developed gradual edging and ski engagement turns. It must have to do with the movement progression. Although I saw no steering or pivoting attempts by the instructors or students, the students were able to bring the skis into turns that looked progressively edged.

The instructors at Sol Vista are trained by Mike Gaddy, the ski school director and they attend a Green level PMTS accreditation. The instructors are mostly young and new to ski instructing, a few are veteran PMTS instructors. I think that’s why there is such acceptance of PMTS, no PSIA bias. I admit I was very skeptical and had my own bias; I used to teach and have been PSIA certified.

I have to applaud Harald Harb as he is really on to something. Many of the comments and information I read on this site about Harb’s system seem made without real knowledge of his system. It is my feeling now that many misrepresent the PMTS system. If I have to eat crow, I will. I was once critical of his ideas and approaches, but I witnessed his program and now I am willing give it a try.

The results he and his instructors achieved with my wife and others in the Camp were well beyond what is normally reached in a lesson. During the camp, skiers who were truly awkward and unbalanced, made tremendous progress in three, half day sessions. This motivated me to read the PMTS instructor manual. I plan to go out and implement the Harb methods. I am surely not qualified to teach PMTS, but it’s worth a try.
post #25 of 28
Quote:
"SCSA, jumping on chair, dancing around the room with arms raised and a big ole smile, screaming, Yes! Yes! Yes!"
post #26 of 28
Direct to parallel works well and requires the exact same scenario as a more traditional beginner teaching methodology

1. A Willing student
2. An experienced open minded professional instructor
3. The correct terrain
4. The correct equipment

No true ski pro gives a rats who “invented” the systems that work for their clients.
post #27 of 28
Quote:
Originally posted by man from Oz:
Direct to parallel works well and requires the exact same scenario as a more traditional beginner teaching methodology

1. A Willing student
2. An experienced open minded professional instructor
3. The correct terrain
4. The correct equipment

No true ski pro gives a rats who “invented” the systems that work for their clients.
I would add another component to Oz's list and that being a fairly athletic skier who is in better than average physical condition.

I would also say no true pro gives a rats about the platform their client operates on.

IMHO one should not teach a wedge, wedge christie, open parallel or dynamic parallel turn.

A "true pro" teaches the "right" movements to their client.

Oz....I'm not poking fun at your use of the term "true pro". I know your intent and agree with the spirit of your post.
post #28 of 28
Quote:
I would add another component to Oz's list and that being a fairly athletic skier who is in better than average physical condition.
There was a brief time when I would have totally agreed with this statement. With more experience under my belt, IMHO with the correct terrain, experience and equipment it is not really relevant. Of course to find the optimal teaching scenario to teach only one methodology on any given hill to achieve the correct outcome of all skiing skills remains the Holy Grail of teaching beginners.

SS management, when exploring new methodologies within their SS MUST do their upmost to provide instructors with the correct tools, training and terrain (the Ts of teaching) if they are to achieve their original business goal of making skiers out of “pedestrians on holiday” and so growing the SS business. Advertising that skiing is easy for all via any given methodology is crap and basically this rhetoric destroys the fundamentals of teaching or learning ANYTHING, especially a movement and balance type sport. When trying to grow SS business, any short-term goal type publicity such as “direct parallel is easy” or “a snowplough gets you turning quicker” are totally self-defeating.

Basically investing in the outcomes of new methodology requires more than a clinic with the local SS change fanatics and an open account for short skis at the company ski hire.
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