The rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated!
Well, I've been nose to the grindstone for the last month, busting my butt to get the last DVD (Transitions) completed before the start of season, so I haven't had a chance to participate on this thread. I'm very pleased to report that as of last night the series is finished! Transitions went in the mail this morning, headed for the duplication house, and should be on the website available for purchase (along with #5 Angulation) in a couple of weeks. So now I have time again to do some posting on Epic.
Steve, glad to hear you're going to dive into the program this season. If you dedicate yourself to the training, I think you'll be very pleased with the results. The Series is very young, but the feedback I've been getting in the short time Building Blocks has been available has been quite impressive. Have a look at the testimonial page on the website to see what I mean. I just received an Email last week from one of my southern hemisphere students whose been using Building Blocks for the last month, and is amazed at the difference in his skiing already. Even his experienced skiing friends who didn't know he was training Building Blocks are noticing and commenting on the big changes in his skiing. His is just one of many enthusiastic letters I'm receiving regularly.
Anyway, sorry for sounding like a proud parent,,, guess it's just that after putting so much hard work into producing this Building Blocks self training program, it's very heartening to hear all the stories coming back to me from around the World of how it's working for people the way I had envisioned it would, and that the dream I had when I started all this, of finding a way to bring the special joys of high level skiing to a much larger segment of the recreational skiing community in a program that could be accessible to all, is really coming to fruition in such a big way.
So,,,, there are many comments I want to address here in this thread. Suppose I'll just start from the top and work my way down the list as time permits.
Originally Posted by ssh
In the introduction to the DVD, Rick mentions that he's become focused on the challenges that recreational skiers have in improving in a way that's at least somewhat similar to the improvement that he saw in his skiing athletes... of special interest was a quick comment: "Even when natural athletic ability was absent."
Really? I'm interested!
It's true, Steve. I coached and directed a full time race program for many years (OK, decades). It was a ground floor program that regularly took green skiers/kids of all ability levels and athletic prowess, and turned them into racers of a very high caliber. We were the strongest race program in New York State for many years, and a regular supplier of talent to Academies, the FIS ranks, and on occasion even the Ski Team.
During all those years we consistently produced great skiers simply because we focused so strongly on building a strong foundation of fundamental skills in our kids. It didn't matter how athletically gifted the kid was. If he/she worked hard and stuck with the program they emerged as highly talented skiers that most anyone on the slopes would be thrilled to ski like. Even the most Gumbyish athletic specimens were able to become very good racers and exceptional skiers.
One kid springs to mind in particular. I won't, of course, share a name, but he/she was one of those very athletically challenged types you don't want to give gum to when they're trying to walk. He/she trained hard and built skills from the ground up, and eventually became on the of best downhillers in New York State.
That was just one story, but there were many. Ski schools and race training programs around the country are saturated with graduates of my program. I even ran into one this year on the glacier in France where I was conducting a Building Blocks. He was there coaching his elite group of racers from Green Mountain Valley Academy. Once you understand the principles of developing skiing skills, you can pass it on, and my racers have in big numbers.
The point is that virtually anyone has the potential to take their skiing to a very high level. They just need the road map of how to do it. I watched in vain for so many years as recreational skiers all around me struggled so, in a skill deprived battle with the mountain, while my kids were systematically building their skills and discovering rewards and satisfactions from skiing that I knew most of those skill starved folks I was watching would likely never come to experience. I also knew that the type of skiing I wished for them was within their grasp,,, they just needed to know how to get there.
So Building Blocks was not something that just happened as some spontaneous inspiration. For many years I've wanted to find a way to bring the type of training and skill building I was using to consistently build great skiers to the general skiing public in form they could easily afford and use. Technology advances, in the form of the Internet, faster computers, digital photography and editing software finally provided me with the vehicle to fulfill my dream.