|Originally posted by just learnin:
...I was just wondering if any of this pertains to a guy like me who is just learnin to ski the greens with confidence? I have taken two lessons from different instructors who taught different ways of "initiating turning" I have another instuctor friend who concentrates on altogether different focus.ie proper traversing stance. Is there really a better way for the beginner or should we not worry about the different tecniques until future advancement ?...
Just learnin' -
If the three instructors are good (PS - how to determine this is a whole thread in itself), don't worry about the different advice that they are giving you. The most likely reason for this is that as a beginner, you undoubtedly could stand substantial improvement in all of your fundamental skiing skills (eg, balance, rotary, edging, pressure, etc.), and each instructor simply decided to focus on a different area at the time they were working with you. If they are good at their trade, nothing that they tell you or have you do will be "wrong" or will hinder your future development in the sport.
For example, the fellow concentrating on stance while traversing might feel that you could stand improvement in fore-aft weight changes and/or edging skills. A problem with either of these could lead to difficulties in initiating turns. This instructor probably wants to help you isolate the specific sensations and muscle activity associated with these skills by traversing instead of working on them while actually turning.
OTOH, equally correctly, the other two instructors might feel that your rotary skills should be worked on first, and might be having you work on flat ski turns on very low angle terrain to isolate this skill.
Eventually, you will have to work on all of the skills, so no time will be "lost" in getting you to the point of being a decent skier.
My take on the various ski instruction "systems" is that they are put forth as wildly different mostly to gain individual market niches, and in attempting to make this differentiation clear, instructors in the less popular systems sometimes err by overemphasizing a few specific aspects of "their system", perhaps to the detriment of the student.
While you could undoubtedly wind up with good lessons under any of the systems, my personal feeling is that the safest way to guarantee yourself a good lesson is to go with the "standard" (ie, PSIA or its Canadian equivalent if you are up there). It's the largest of the "systems" by probably a factor of 100 (ie, maybe a few hundred certified under Harb, tens of thousands certified under PSIA). So, while you might have 20 PSIA guys of varying abilities at a particular time to pick from, you might have only one PMTS guy, most likely at their lowest level.
No matter what the system, if at all possible, take a few private lessons (spaced out maybe every few skiing days at the start) and absolutely demand at least a Level II or III certified instructor for yourself. I hate to say it, but a group lesson with an uncertified or Level I is much more of a crap shoot - you may hit the jackpot, or you may get some kid who is only doing it for the free skiing. Finally, if you absolutely must take a group lesson, if you see that the class size is going to be over 2 or 3 students, opt out (or at least threaten to) and try to come back at other lineups (ie, odd hours, midweek) until you wind up in a very small group.
Tom / PM
PS - In interests of full disclosure, I'm a PSIA type.