or Connect
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:


post #1 of 38
Thread Starter 
I while back I posted about my first time on skis, and everone here was wonderfully welcoming and informative. I will take the advice about boots etc. So I checked back with this forum today and....YIKES. What happened?

Here are two comments, one about teaching and another about dead-end techniques and why I think (as a biologist, believe it or not) that they aren't necessarily bad.

By the way, PM-whatever it is reminds me of Christianity - a good system that helps alot of people but it's not for everyone and why does it require you to believe that anyone who disagrees must go to hell?

Now my two comments worth:

Teaching: I've been teching university level biology and neurobiology for 20 years. There are some generalities about teaching. One is that a good teacher who knows how to do what he's trying to teach is better than a good system. Do you remember any inspiring experiences in college? What do you remember about them? the material you learned, the method with which it was taught, or the professor? I'll bet it's the professor. Another generality is that no one system works for all students. The third is that students want to learn what they came in the door to learn and if you spend too much time worrying about the methods of teaching and not enough time worrying about your students, you are doing a disservice to your students. Keep their goals in sight, and never ever lock into one system of getting there just because you believe in it. Just because it worked for you doesn't mean it'll work for them. It's like the two parents who argue about how to prepare dinner while their kids starve to death.

Bottom line: I'd gladly pay $400 for a day with Bob Barnes because he'd be interested in My learning not HIS agenda. (Uh oh. that's my boot budget. Bob - can I take the lesson in stocking feet with duct tape for bindings?)

Now, class is in session for a biology lesson with direct implications for teaching skiing. The title of today's class is: "Dead-end techniques are not necessarily bad."

What is the most amazing bit of construction of a finished product in the world? It's the human body, especially the brain. Self-assembling in a short period of time, and so complex we can't even come close to building one. Self-repairing, self-modifying to fit the circumstances. How complex? The brain has 100 billion nerve cells. That's more than you think. If you were to sit down and draw one nerve cell per second, 24 hrs a day, you would draw for 3000 years to draw them all, and you didn't even have to hook them up correctly. It takes only about 8 weeks during pre-birth life to make those cells, and only a couple of years to hook them all up. That's efficient!

So how does that "method" of construction work? Very "inefficiently". The brain and body are packed early on with "dead-end" temporary structures. These die off later after they've served their temporary purpose. Why? Because some things have to function while they're being built. So you need some temporary stuff to keep things running along the way. It's like building a boat in the open ocean: you need alot of temporary stuff to keep you afloat while you built the final product.

So, how about skiing? There's alot to learn, but the problem is, you can't learn it sitting on your butt or with your face in the snow. You've got to be standing up, not (too) terrified, and preferably not knocked unconscious while you're learning. So it isn't at all unreasonable to learn some temporary methods to keep you stable and upright, to give you a platform from which to learn the "real" stuff. These can be ditched later. That isn't necessarily inefficient or undesirable.

That doesn't mean that dead-end moves are good, or that they're bad. Just that you can't write them off just because they have to disappear later and don't appear in the final product. By the time you're born, half the cells of your brain have been ditched for exactly these reasons, and I haven't seen anyone propose a better system for building a brain yet.

Yikes! Can you tell I'm a professor? Sorry, but the science geek in me sometimes gets out, when some of that arcane info I have packed into the brain bears on something I see.
post #2 of 38
better watch what you say. Christianity is a subject you don't want to open up.
Like everything else don't genereralize. Some "branches" of christianity are cult like some are very open.
But your point is well taken. A large body of beliefs that benefit many but not always the best for everyone.

I hope that not so much has changed that you don't keep coming back for info/advise and stop giving us your opinions. You just happend to get in on a 2 day slug fest that seems to have turned into a positive exchange of info after the emotions/egos got checked outside. (thanks everyone by the way for calming down) I think we are back on track...

Good to hear you are making progress SciBill.
Neuro-biology huh? my Brother is a PHD in neurobiology. I never really understood that but my simple understanding is that a biologist looks at the brain as "a living organ and what makes it grow/what affects it?" as a neuro-biologist looks at the brain more like machine or computer and "how does it work ie:input here gets processed like this"
Is that about right?
post #3 of 38
Thread Starter 
Sorry about the religion crack. You're right, of course.

Actually a neurobiologist studies all aspects of the brain. I happen to study development and electrical signaling. Spend my days making electrical recordings from things that are about 1/20th of a mm big, and generate currents of about
0.0000000001 amps. What a life?

As for skiing, I'm suffering from winter withdrawal, an emotion I never thought I'd experience. But i did end my season well, with a nice day at Stevens Pass near Seattle, beautiful snow, nice people, no crowds, dry roads. But it was hard to admit which run was the last of the season.
post #4 of 38
As someone who has been teaching fitness since 1973, I wholeheartedly agree with your philosophy of teaching. Looking at all the fitness modalities I teach, I have never been able to follow a methodolgy verbatim, especially if I find that there are aspects of it unsuitable for my students.
One of my current "ski heros" {my heros are usually teachers}, is Joan Rostad. On her site, hyperchange cafe, she has written this wonderful "Beliefs" section about ski instruction. Two statements are significant to this topic.
"A single theory can never completely explain things. Gathering the best practices of many theories is superior to competing theories."

"In a community of truth, everybody is an expert and a learner at the same time".

Be Braver in your body, or your luck will leave you. DH Lawrence
post #5 of 38
SB, unfortunately in skiing what usually happens is that after the initial construction begins, there is no further development (lessons). So the temporary inefficiencies tend to become permanant, as there is no outside force to change the development, and certainly no intuitive plan. Staying with the analogy, you can expect a severely handicapped baby, or more likely, a stillborn or aborted fetus. And so it is with skiing.
post #6 of 38
Welcome back, Sci-Bill-

As a teacher myself, it's good to see yet another one here; you, Lisa, myself, and verious ski teachers. it's incredible how in this country religion and ploitics are supposed to be a no-no in conversations whereas in many other countries it often is the main topic, and without bloodshed. When I get 'witnessed to' and told I have to believe their way or I'm going to hell, I ask, "What religion is God?" At that pint they leave, praying for me! When someone soapboxes about the evils of this or that party I tell them it takes both the left wing and the right wing to make the American Eagle fly! When I here of PMTS or PSIA I try suggestions from both and see what works for me. A good theory does not try to explain all. A good theory is hueristic. A good theory should have the same results using the same procedures by different people. Do we reject or do we NOT reject? There will always be those it doesn't work for, out at 2 or 3 std. deviations! Why? That's life!
So it is with ski schools and equipment. There may be many things in this school which work and some that don't for this or that student. A good teacher will recognized what is working and what isn't. I had a ski teacher like this once who attended to each of our needs. In retrospect he was a busy guy! I guess it is wise to be eclectic.
BTW- Did anyone see that thing on TV about us going to the moon in the 60's was a hoax? Wow! Talk about some bad science!
Life's a pain... then you nap. Cat philosphy
<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by jyarddog (edited May 10, 2001).]</FONT>
post #7 of 38
Can I quote the "It takes a left wing and a right wing to make the American Eagle fly", comment? It is so right on!
post #8 of 38
How about this for a less-controversial analogy:

PMTS Whacko and the PMTS system remind me a lot of the Amway business. (I'll assume most people know how it works but for those that don't, it's basically a pyramid scheme involving your everyday household purchases). I studied this business opportunity a few years ago. It made pretty good economic sense and was relatively risk free.

So why didn't I join up and pursue it? Because of the way it was presented by the person who showed it to me. He was just as intense, argumentative, arrogant and annoying as PMTS Whacko is. So much so that regardless of how good a system PMTS is, I'm not going to give it a shot. Yes, it sounds interesting but Whacko has convinced me that I don't want anything to do with it.

The strange thing about Amway and another similarity with PMTS is that the attitude that turned me off is the exact attitude that the company teaches.

Yes, that technique works for some (there are Amway millionaires, after all), but I think it turns away more customers than it attracts.
post #9 of 38
This is the best analogy yet.
post #10 of 38
Who puts their occupation in their name?? Pretty egotistical to think anyone cares you teach microbiology (I'd guess for no more than 25 grand a year, but it would just be mean to attack such an important man's pocketbook). But I guess the more times you mention it the more important you look, huh?

Say hello to student-skier-ski salesman-town drunk Dubs.

"I can drink a whole Hennessey fifth. Some call it a problem, I call it a gift" -Xzibit
post #11 of 38
Thread Starter 
Am I really supposed to respond to things like that? Sorry if my login name offends some. Habit, not ego. I'll try to change it.

By the way, I'm not a microbiologist. Read again. And your salary figure is off. Shows your low respect for teachers, just like your namesake, the prez.

I sure hope the tone around this place changes by next season. Maybe we can get back to talking skiing and fun, rather than crap. But, then again, it does mirror the slopes: just takes a few to ruin your day, huh?
post #12 of 38
G-Dubs -- remember rule #1? Play Nice.

Scientist Bill -- I'm the sherriff in these parts and I've been slacking (as in not reading the forums much) lately; just swamped wtih work. But welcome aboard, I think you'll find a lot of constructive discussion here. I can assure the tone will not deteriorate below a certain point and now that I am back on the scene, law and order shall be restored. Now if I only had this much influence over snowfall!
post #13 of 38
I've consistently given you the benefit of doubt but you're really doing a good job of building up your resume as a punk. Why don't you use that "brain" you're always telling us about? Right now your wattage is pretty low. I doubt even scibill could measure it.

Gee, you can pour liquids down you're throat, that's really special! Once you've seen a few people dead from car wrecks, turned into vegetables, strung out on you name it, or their lives put in shambles your drinking "talent" seems sad at best.

Why don't you use your real talent instead of boring people to death with your juvenile comments and glaring lack of knowledge?

People here will take you seriously if you've got something to say. Maybe you just don't though. Too bad.<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by Tog (edited May 10, 2001).]</FONT>
post #14 of 38
Anybody ever wonder what REALLY happened at Roswell? Scientist Bill, even obnoxous kids like me respect teachers. Post away, you said some good things.
post #15 of 38
Thread Starter 
Thanks AC, but on reflection, maybe g-dubs has a point. The login name may be a bit much. Is there a way to change it at this point? Maybe that will avoid an implication that I don't intend. Always best not to offend.

How about "ITriedtoskifastandman theSnowTastesGoodTodayBill"?
post #16 of 38
There's nothing wrong with your name -- in fact, I think it is a good one (fun, colorful imagery for me). Go with it.
post #17 of 38
Thread Starter 
And back to the point, milesb is absolutely right. If some of those temporary brain structures don't die off at the right time, you get just what he says: death or handicap. Same with teaching; the props, if they are useful, are only useful if they go away smoothly and at the right time.

I actually liked the wedge, as in The Athletic Skier, for exploring what edges are all about, but at low speed where I don't fear for my life. But other than that, and stopping in lift lines (how ELSE can you do it? hockey stops are obnoxious in lines, butt plants are embarrassing, and sticking your poles out dislocates shoulders), and control in narrow places, I abandoned the wedge because it made me uncomfortable, tense, and defensive. Just no fun. Served its purpose, keeps a few uses here and there, but otherwise, "bye bye".

Now the butt plant is another story. VERY useful in many situations. I used it to great effect when I first tried to walk in my boots across a slick floor in the lodge, carrying burger, fries, and coffee. Very graceful, and if I'd had "Scientist" pinned across my jacket, even g-dubs would have had a good time laughing!
post #18 of 38
You should check out someones thread in General Ski about super cavi... something or other, supercalafragilistisc, no. Anyway, it sounds like a question that only a scientist could answer.
post #19 of 38

I actually like the name don't change it. You should pay little attention to g_dubs he's fifteen. (or is that 13? I keep forgeting)

Your post. Couldn't respond earlier but I'd read it and thought "Allright! He's slayed the beast!" Alas, the one offhand comment becomes distracting to your point and a focus!

Excellent point about teaching. Pmts wacko has had enormous amount of time spent with an excellent teacher (Harb). Plus constant contact with emails, videos etc.. If he hadn't become a good skier after 160 days on snow it would be a surprise.

So it's the teacher, the students incredible motivation and determination, and a lot of practice. Isn't that the classic recipe in education for good results? Doesn't seem like much of a surprise.

Superb comments on "dead end moves" ! It's amazing how many excellent skiers there are who've all learned from the wedge. It's not even an issue that it was a "problem".

This is the one thing that irritated me no end about Harb's book, his insistence that the wedge is awful and destroying skiers. As if they've been given a lobotomy just from learning it. Hmmm...one's brain capacity/muscle control decreases from learning something new?- SciBill, how about a comment on that angle?

It's such an obvious marketing ploy. The whole "system" is based on it. If your not a good skier, it must be because you learned the wedge!

Do a search for the wedge because there's been some excellent stuff written on why it's actually not a dead end move. There's a thread called "To wedge or not to wedge" and others. Bob Barnes has a very good long post on it.

I think I'll probably end up reposting this quote a lot here. Posted in the "He's baaaaack" thread by Ott Gangl:

>>Spyder, you said it... as an old timer I came through the Arlberg, French, Austrian and American techniques, and while teaching for 25 years I never thought of it as this move is from that technique.

You are teaching someone to ski, for Christs sake, and you teach them what they don't know, what could be simpler?

...Ott <<

Hmmmm....so what's the big deal?

I thought that was an excellent analogy. SciBill whatya think?<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by Tog (edited May 10, 2001).]</FONT>
post #20 of 38
Hey SciBill,

There's someone here with the handle "I have the secret". He received some flames at first but now everyone's used to it. Also we've got "skiprofessor" I think. Very funny.

cheers<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by Tog (edited May 11, 2001).]</FONT>
post #21 of 38
g-dubs, I have a friend that claims drinking, which can kill brain cells, is a form of pruning and he is just killing the weak ones. He is starting to look more like Keith Richards so I'm not too sure about his theory. Be careful with the pruning some effects are starting to show.
post #22 of 38
SKIentist Bill,

Keep the name. Re the remark, consider the source.<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by ryan (edited May 11, 2001).]</FONT>
post #23 of 38
Haha Lucky I like your pruning idea. Bill, don't worry about it man I was just playin around, you don't need to take me so seriously man. I will try and play nice like AC said.

"I can drink a whole Hennessey fifth. Some call it a problem, I call it a gift" -Xzibit
post #24 of 38
Don't worry about Gdubs. Sometimes he sounds like a wacko-wanna-be. I am sure he is a good skier. Why in the world would he slam you because of your handle? Some people tend to be intimidated by educated people. Education can come from life skills as well as school. The combination of the two is unbeatable! But then there are those who have to blow out another's candle to make theirs look brighter. I highly respect the college teacher. I'm just a funky, old k-9 teacher.
yeppers, use the American Eagle line. Wish more people did!
Gravity- Read my line about the hoax thing again. You will see I didn't buy it for a minute! I was also going to post that URL of badastronomy.com, but I forgot to. The sad thing is... I was teaching high school one day when a couple of kids got onto the hoax link. I countered all their arguments, but they refused to change their opinions. So many love to believe in a conspiracy. Those who love to believe thusly are those who are partially educated, idealistc, easily persuaded, or just can't think for themselves. They refuse to change their opinions even when faced with proof to the contrary. Now where are my wood skis with no metal edges and claw bindings. They're the best skis around... better than those shaped ski that look like Mae West! Don't confuse me with the facts. My mind's made up! bwahahahahaha!

Life's a pain... then you nap. Cat philosphy
post #25 of 38
let's see... Wasn't one theory that Hilter escaped to the South pole and enter a hole there and is now the dictator of the underground people readying to re-invade the Earth? Congress actually appropiated money for some idiot to go find the hole at the North pole, or North Hole, if you will! But they stopped the money due to the advent of WWI or something!

HEY EVERYONE- while I'm off teh subject, hehehehe, Gawd I love computers (!), I have my own theory on something... light bulbs, to wit: light bulbs don't give off light. They suck up darkness! When they go "out", they're full, then you throw them away! The garbage dude comes by and takes it to the dump. Later, They take all that garbage and full light bulbs and throw it all in the ocean. And that's why the bottom of the ocean is so dark.... all dem filled up light bulbs. True story! hehehehe Still looking for my wood skis! btw I do have my old leather boots. Found them in Mom's attic a few years ago. During ski season I take them to Gart where I work nights and diplay them. Customers get a kick out of them! They are still in the metal boot tree where I last left them.
Well, Powderjunkie, Mikla, and I will meet at Timberline 9 AM Sunday at the ticket window. Grav or anyone else who can make it, be there! Then I'll show you all how NOT to ski! Bob

Life's a pain... then you nap. Cat philosphy
post #26 of 38
The sign on my darkroom door states:


post #27 of 38
That is simply fantastic! However there may be a corralary to darksuckers that darksuckers are actually light holes as opposed to black holes. This makes darksuckers quite powerful. But then dark may be pushing instead of being pulled since it is very very fast. It pushes toward the point of least resistance, ergo, the light hole. The bigger or more efficient the lighthole is the faster or greater amount of dark can travel toward it.
Either way dark is quite powerfull. Either way we mess up the minds of those who try to tweak our noses here in the bear forum, about the 'proper' way to ski! But then there are those who probably are considering that your darksucker conspiracy just might be right. This is the kind of thinking we run into in the real world all too often. A friend of mine was told by some mental hospital doctors that half the people are in the loony bin and the other half are still out there!
So, could it be that we don't ski on snow but rather on a thin layer of dark? Roll the ski over on an edge and the dark leaks out! Hey! I think I'm starting to understand this now! But, do I use dark wax or light wax?

Life's a pain... then you nap. Cat philosphy
post #28 of 38
Welcome Scientist Bill, I think the handle is just fine.

I am a little concerned, however, in your first post comparing PMTS to Christainity.

You see, PMTS should not be religion. Second it lacks the desciples and salesmanship of apostles to spread the word to the "heathens" among us.

Furthermore, I don't think Harald Harb wishes to die a painful martyr's death in hopes that the word and methods of PMTS are spread. He already has created two versions of the PMTS "Bible," along with videos and a website.

So while there are those among us that look upon skiing as a "religion" which may lead to being at peace with ourselves and the world, I don't think taht this may be an adequate path to salvation.... that may be a bit much no matter who the teacher is ....Agree PMTS Wacko ?
post #29 of 38
But that's just it, Wink. Wacko has tried to "sell" this stuff to us through a religous fervor, not by presenting a scientific logic of why his system is superior.
When asked by skiminker for comparison between the two systems, he resorts to a "come'on" girls sort of sexism, which he has done on a few threads. Most of us are comfortable enough with each other to go beyond the political correctedness B.S. and engage in harmless "cyberflirting" , but assuming familiarity when there is none is eerily reminiscent of the many "charismatic" leaders who have existed throughout history.

To be alive nowadays means to go through each day at the mercy of proselitizers: "change your long distance company, our mortgage rates are better than yours", etc. I think of the movie Airplane, where the pilot walks through the airport knocking over the Hari Krishna people {OH! Harold Harbski, Harold Harbski, sorry, I could'nt resist} and others.
Quite frankly, I'd rather listen to SciBill talk about the neurobiological reactions of the brain while skiing.

Be Braver in your body, or your luck will leave you. DH Lawrence
post #30 of 38
So people need to take the little metal fish off the back of their Honda Civics and replace it with.......what?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Ski Instruction & Coaching