What, Si? A discussion about wedge turns sounds "like a PMTS clinic"?? Finally, Si! I've been trying to get this point across for years--that most PMTS concepts are nothing the least bit "new" or unique to PMTS. Good skiing is good skiing--I can't count how many times I've said that!
However, whether "the lift" is "the essence" of PMTS or simply a "step along the way," it still presents problems--many of them. Yes, "with proper guidance," it is possible to avoid the problems of the lift, but I've seen many students who had guidance from PMTS's top instructors, who were unable to avoid the problems. As we've discussed, some of the problems are minimized by the narrow stance that PMTS emphasizes, but that stance brings its own set of problems, which may be even more troublesome than the "negative movements" that the "lift" almost invariably causes. Releasing its edge is what matters. Flattening the ski and moving into the turn are the ultimate solution. At the very best, "lifting" allows the skier to cheat by releasing the edge without either flattening or moving downhill.
"The Lift" is problematic. Why not just eliminate the problem altogether? (Aside--please note that I do not mean to imply that balancing on one foot, lifting a ski, and so on, are bad exercises. They are great, essential, balance drills. They simply should not be emphasized as part of a "learn to turn" progression.)
Finally, while I know that your comments were somewhat in jest, remember that this discussion that you described as "a PMTS clinic" is about WEDGE TURNS! As you have concluded, and as we have so many times proclaimed, if the movements are correct, the wedge/parallel issue is not an issue at all! Harald Harb has apparently finally made this realization as well. He stated in the letter SCSA quoted in another thread that he recognizes sometimes wedges just RESULT from the right movements. With that statement, he finally comes full-circle, although he may still be unwilling to admit that his complaints about "Traditional Teaching Methods" describe only the PRE-Center Line era of PSIA (although, sadly, not necessarily of actual ski teaching). As you have observed, PMTS and PSIA are actually far more similar than they are different, at least as far as understanding of fundamental movements goes.
The PMTS claim that it is a departure from "Traditional Teaching Methods" is absolutely valid. But this "Traditional Teaching Method" era ended officially (in the US, at least) with the introduction of the Center Line Model, in the late 1980's. 20 years ago, the accepted standard was indeed to steer the outside ski into a skid to start a turn, eventually "graduating" to parallel turns that involved steering BOTH tails into a skid at the same time, often with the help of an "up-unweighting." The Center Line model represented a dramatic change in focus from these "pushoff" mechanics to the habitual movements of today's best skiers.
Unfortunately, as this discussion reveals, time has proven it frustratingly difficult to achieve a new understanding universally throughout ski schools. I am as critical as Harald Harb of ski schools and instructors who have not updated their understanding from the "pre-Center Line era." I may be MORE critical than Harald, because these obsolete instructors often wear the same pin I do. But the "Model" is not at fault for its own demise. Our difficulty training to it, perhaps, is.
The Center Line fundamentals, from the very beginning, emphasized RELEASING (by flattening, not lifting) the downhill (new inside) ski, which then allows steering BOTH skis INTO the turn. As this flattening and release occurs, naturally, the body (CM) crosses over the feet into the new turn, demonstrating the "smooth flow of the CM" that is also key to the Center Line.
Anyway, I'm glad we've reached this understanding, Si! Now back to the nuts and bolts of turn initiations.....
Lucky--I agree--thinking of the initiation as slightly sequential--inside ski first ("left tip left to go left") assures that we activate that inside leg sufficiently and early. Pierre eh and I had this discussion, as he "accused" me of showing an OBVIOUS sequential, inside ski first, move in my own skiing, even as I described tipping and turning BOTH skis. And he's right--I am acutely aware that I often tip the inside ski more actively than the outside ski, and that I steer it also very actively throughout the turn.
So, if it matters, let it be sequential! Both skis DO turn, at the same time, but it is perfectly all right for one of them to start turning first (which will result in a slight divergence of the tips).
Pierre eh--I'm glad to hear that your gang is finally coming around! And yes, SCSA--ANY role that Harald Harb has had, even if it has just been to help prod the sluggish establishment into action--is worthy! Changes did need to happen in ski teaching--they still do. Skiing HAS changed since 20 years ago, and despite the Center Line model, Harald Harb, EpicSki, and other influences, getting the ski instruction community as a whole to embrace--or even to understand--the changes still has far to go!
I agree with Pierre eh and Rusty--it does happen, but again, as an effect, not a cause, of good turns. Tipping the downhill ski on edge to make it hold requires tipping the entire body and/or creating angles in the ankles, knees, hips, and/or spine. Any of these movements makes us "shorter"--brings our head closer to the snow, if not closer to the feet. Flattening the skis relaxes these angles and, unless accompanied by an active retraction (flexion), results in the skier getting "taller"--the extension we identify at turn initiation.
In other words, thinking of flattening the skis typically causes a well-directed, appropriate extension. Thinking of "extending," though, often misses the mark altogether. There are so many things in skiing that are like this, in missing the cause-effect relationship. "The lift" is one, as we discussed in the thread, A tale of two initiations
. It happens, sometimes, but focusing on it misses the point, and often causes the opposite of the intended effect. Weight transfer, as Rusty has described, is another. Yes, weight transfers--as a result, not a cause, of good turns. Make a good turn, and you will usually experience a weight transfer. Make a weight transfer, and you are likely to make a horrible turn! Finally, the WEDGE, too, falls into this category. We've had this discussion too, so many times, but the Center Line model--and now PMTS too, apparently--has always recognized it not as a "step" or a "component" of good turns, but as a common side-effect. Center Line turns are not based on the wedge, but the wedge is often based on the movements of the turns! (See the "Perfect Turns"
thread and "Those turns...illustrated"
for detailed discussions of all these points.)
Rusty--one very minor point--flattening the downhill ski represents "inversion" of the foot (turning the sole inward), not "eversion." Flattening and steering the inside ski ("left tip left to go left") involves inversion and external rotation. "Lifting," of course, involves PERVERSION.... And psychologists define "inversion" as taking on the gender role of the opposite sex, which is influenced by the "drag coefficient"--the measure of the tendency of a man to dress in women's clothing....
(Clearly time for me to take a bike ride--I think I need oxygen.....)
Bob Barnes[ August 01, 2002, 11:47 AM: Message edited by: Bob Barnes/Colorado ]