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PMTS, Pathway to Parallel, Beginners Magic

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
Okay, Rick H., Wigs, Arcmeister; while we have you distinguished gentlemen here, can you talk about your programs, and how they differentiate fromeach other? Thanks! [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #2 of 25

I think you should get Lito Tejada-Flores' new book from Amazon.com through this web sight. It is called "Breakthrough on the New Skis." There is a lot of "phantom edging" [ Harb's Phantom foot move,]in this book. In fact on the back cover HH recommends the book!

What's so great, is that Lito is so clear and easy to understand. His writing is to the point and easily evokes imagery which is nicely enhanced be the photos in the book. Worth a look.
post #3 of 25
Thread Starter 
And he seems to be quite a lovely person. I just recieved an email from him about his book. But since we have 3 people here who teach different forms of a direct parallel approach, I thought it may be interesting to get some dialogue going.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ December 16, 2001 08:44 PM: Message edited 1 time, by Lisamarie ]</font>
post #4 of 25
LM, I'll explain a little about PMTS, except to say that I will use Roger's "micro-wedge" when I have student that tries to wedge.

Primary Movements Teaching System Direct Parallel is a ski teaching system devloped by Harald Harb, Diana Rogers, Robert Hintermeister and Kim Peterson. Harald and Diana are partners. Bob Hintermeister is a PhD in Biomechanics and is Director of Research for the Steadman Research Foundation, probably the most renown orthopeadic research foundation in sports. Kim is an Education Phychologist and has his own consultation business.

PMTS is divided into three distinct sections; skiing movements, biomechanics and Student Directed Ski Instruction. Accreditation, or certification, is based on knowledge of three sections.

PMTS does not teach the wedge movement. It teaches beginners edging, transfer and balance in the first lesson via a series of stepping turns. Prior to the stepping turn, we start the new students in a few boots only introduction. This helps them to become aware of the four edges. Then move directly into a shuffle turn that frequently transitions into a rough parallel without further movements. Next is the Phantom Drag which gives the student awareness of all four edges on the skis. PD is not a turning movement, per se. It is a speed control movement that utilizes control via the uphill ski's little toe edge and the ski design to turn uphill.

Next, comes the three parts of a turn, release, transfer and engagement. Release from the old turn is accomplished by relaxing the theigh muscles of the old stance (outside)leg. then weight transfer to the new outside ski. It is almost a fluid movement from release to transfer. Engagement is accomplished by slightly lifting and tipping the new free foot to it's little toe edge AND drawing the free foot heel into the stance foot heel. The cemter of mass move into the turn and stance leg follows, tipping the outside ski onto its big toe edge, engaging the ski. This is the Phantom Move.

The above was all developed through biomechanics. I, for one, am not going to get into an arguement on biomechanics with a world reknowed authority on biomechanics such as Bob Hintermeister. I just accept his teachings and try to learn as much as I can.

Student Directed Ski Instruction was developed by Kim Peterson, Harald Harb and Diana Rogers. They also developed Guest Centered Instruction, the precurser to SDSI.
SDSIs basic concept is: If you can determine and fulfill the learners affective(expectations), cognitive(understanding) and psycho-motor(movement) domains, your teaching will successful. The concept requires that the learners motivations and expectations be determined at the start of the lesson. To fulfill the expectations, the instructor guides the student through movement and understanding. As the student aquires new movements and understanding, motivations often change. So, during the course of a lesson the instructor needs continually verify the student's expectations. The students motivations change due to a process within the brain, called cognitive dissonance, the need to know, the need to find solutions. So at the end of the lesson, the student's expectation, movement and understanding are fulfilled.

post #5 of 25
Thread Starter 
Thanks! I still say you should have harald let you write or edit his books. When you explain it, I can actually understand it!
So now it would be cool if we can hear about how the other direct parallel approaches compare. What's the same, what's different?
post #6 of 25
Oh boy, Bob Barnes would be turning over in his grave if he was dead. But thank God he's not or we wouldn't have further mod's to the bible or that ski video (or video volume, better yet) that he is supposed to put out soon ... right Bob? (you know you would sell 5000 copies just from this forum alone!, come on be a savvy business guy.. alright, I'm not really interested in making you money, I would just love to put it in my library.

LisaMarie, I'm interested as well in the difference between the 3 systems. I only know the PMTS Direct Paralell and I have to squeak some comments in so RickH can try to defend them while he is here.

First things first,
Wink, I have to agree that Lito has a special skill for writing about skiing. He's a writer and a poet though. He would probably inspire you to hike if you weren't already a hiker. Have you ever seen him ski though? Check out his videos. He had to bring in the people that actually do what he's talking about... he does have a jolly old dance dance down the hill, in a very non-aggressive, twisty, skiddy kind of way, but I wouldn't emulate the way the man skis. I wonder if you're getting a cut of the profits..I notice you push his stuff here. Seems like a good guy though.

This is between RickH and I : (Just kidding RickH)and will probably be long winded so unless you are interested in this, I would skip past.
O.K. RickH, let's get at it.
I have the entire PMTS System, Expert Video, Instructor's Video, and Instructor's Manual.
How in the world do those baby stepping turns emulate the way experts move ... picking up each ski, transfering weight back and forth from ski to ski, turning slightly from the sidecut of the ski each time the ski is weighted on the snow. (and a slight twisting motion...your teaching beginners here remember, not experts or intermediates, their first reaction is to twist, not tip, especially when their skis are flat at slow speeds, even if you tell them to tip)The next progression from here is the "rough paralell" which is a very kind way of saying "sloppy skidded not in control, no display of any moves that experts make" type of turn . That's not good for the beginner. This system has no way of getting these beginners on a sound base where they can learn the same type of controlled edging and steering skills that experts use. The reason is that if they tip, and both skis are paralell, and they are not skidding sideways, and their stance is narrow as the system teaches, what could possibly happen? They are going very very slow so the ski is not really doing much heavy carving, just swinging very large radius turns. This would mean that they are carving beautiful open paralell turns at very large radii. I know the system insists on no steering whatsoever. So how do we get the kids to tighten that radius down without controlled steering and turning the tips into the turn? And what happens when we go over to the steeper greens and eventually the blues? I assume you know how a ski carves and the forces involved that ultimately result from velocity. Larger velocity, larger centripetal force and so on. How are you going to get these kids to control their line on a crowded Saturday if they have to tip there way to a large radius turn back up the hill which will take a lot of space that they don't have. Is it about fundamentals or is it about being paralell. Have the z skidders proved themselves graduates because they are paralell or not yet because they are not carving parallel? I cannot stress enough, how easy it is to go from a good fundamental wedge christies to open paralell if the fundamentals are there.

And this business of pulling or dragging the inside ski just causes a chase the tail syndrome which I have found from experience. I have to run now and have many more comments. We could start a seperate thread if you like.

I kind of barged in on LisaMarie. [img]tongue.gif[/img] Sorry!!
post #7 of 25
Thread Starter 
No need to apologize.. BUT.... We've debated the merits or lack thereof PMTS a gazillion times. I have only recently been made aware of the fact that there are other direct parallel systems, and wanted to compare teaching systems.
post #8 of 25
In creating Pathway to Parallel I drew on experience gained from 30+ years exploring teaching options across the full range of the spectrum. Started with my own hybrid of Clif Taylor's Instant Parallel GLM (plus edging from me) in '70, coaching racers to carve (per Witherall) since '72, merged into PSIA dogma in '75 (been on PSIA Ed Staff for 25 seasons), Merged many beliefs with Harb in mid '90's because of our common recognition that efficient skiing movements start with the feet, and since then explored PMTS through their Accreditdation and Trainers programs. I'm still exploring and learning.

Pathway to Parallel is intended as a flexable framework of options that bridge the "gap" between traditional gliding/braking wedge foundation beginner pathways at one extreme and the newer "direct parallel" pathways at the other end of the spectrum. I feel that the needs of the majority of current beginners lies somewhere between the extremes and change from class to class. Appropriatly addressing the needs of todays beginners requires having flexable options to choose from that accomidate a wide variety of student expectations, terrain, equipment, class size and time contstraint variables. Pathway to Parallel is based on simple, consistantly repeatable, efficient movents (starting at the feet) that, once learned, only need to be reinforced and adapted in blend of timing, intensity and duration to create most any desired outcome in skiing. The movements never need to be "un-learned" of "replaced" for a student to continue to progress from simple parallel turns day one to expert all-mouintain skiing or even racing as their movements simply become more precise, accurate, and adaptable with ongoing practice of what they learned in their first 20 minutes on snow. In this regard, more like PMTS than PSIA. From an instructor viewpoint however, P2P draws on use of familiar traditional activities (What is done) BUT differs with it's very specific non-traditional How the movements are made (from the feet) and Why they are done (efficient bio-mechanics). P2P quickly builds dynamic balance from activities (releasing/engaging) on cooresponding edges with skis parallel -vs- static balance of a wide wedge on opposing edges (that later must be let go of). P2P was concieved to adapt to work for class needs at either end of the spectrum, from the long ski wedge needy to short shaped spontanious parallelers. P2P should not be thought of as another specific "way to learn to ski" but as an outline of options for teaching people how to learn a process of "learning to ski" any way they want to that makes them happy.
post #9 of 25
Thread Starter 
Thank you!
post #10 of 25
Let me apologize again. I'm sure people who have been here a long time and have many posts are sick of the newcomers sticking their $0.97 in, instead of feeling around first and then sticking there $0.02 in. I have spent many hours navigating and searching through previous threads and topics to make sure I don't harp on any old beat up topics that you members have already outdone. I am guilty of not being very active in the summer as Cleveland is a hard place to think about skiing in the summer. I picked up in early October and have missed quite a bit of discussions.

I mean well and mean to spark thoughts that at a minimum will inspire me to think a little more openly about skiing. I'm trying to catch up on many old threads to save you members the repeat song and dance.
post #11 of 25

So what you're really saying is that you're a slacker for not being here in the summer?

Ah, one of those fair weather posters, eh?

post #12 of 25

I won't get into a long arguement on the merits of PMTS. I will comment on the stepping turns and turn radius.

Through demonstration, the beginner is taught to edge in both the boot drills and static ski drill. They are taught to start their movements at the feet, not the waist. This is transferred to the dynamic movements on skis in an actual turn.

As they progress and start to get into parallel, they are taught to things; turn shape and speed control. Speed control is accomplished very simply by completing the turn uphill. Turn shape is accomplished by the amount of tipping to the little toe edge of the free ski. All of the can usually be accomplished in the first 2 1/2 hour lesson. Many students start to get into the rough parallel within the first 2 hours. For the next half hour, it is six or more private lessons at one time.

We also have a Guaranteed Learn to Ski program. It consists of a five hour lesson and equipment. The nice thing about GLS is, the students get into parallel in the morning and spend the afternoon refining the movements and exploring all of the green runs and some of the easy blue runs. At the end of the day, the new skier has the ability to ski with most of their friends and often better.
post #13 of 25
I do have difficulty seeing PMTS as an efective method of teaching beginners. They simply do not have the balance required to execute PMTS properly. Getting proper alignment in your boots will not give you balance - it only gives a platform from where you can develop balance with time and practice.

Let's look at an special case: I have seen hundreds of first-timers on in-line skates and not a single one was ever able to turn on the outsides foot. Why? Because the skill required to balance on the outside foot is not there. Sure skis are more forgiving (laterally), but they are also much longer that in-lines.

I do think that PMTS is effective in getting intermediates to learn to carve and to allow the ski shape to do its job. But when I see instructors trying to "force" PMTS as solution to every situation, I start to wonder. Still, I cannot help but admire what HH has done from a marketing perspective.
post #14 of 25
Thread Starter 
Since we still have not heard from anyone from the Beginners magic Camp, Rick and Arcmeister, how do you think your approaches, that are of the same philosophy, differ from each other?

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ December 16, 2001 08:47 PM: Message edited 1 time, by Lisamarie ]</font>
post #15 of 25
To TomB,
I have found from personal experience that PMTS is "especially effective" with beginners. Let's look at the balance Q? When we walk, run, dance, etc we naturally balance from one foot to the other while moving dynamically. This foot to foot dynamic balance is much easier for our bodies make active movements with than any anchored two-foot static balance position (wedge). One of the most important things a skier learns is "skier specific balance" which is learned through dynamic activities, not through static positions. A beginner easilly adapts their natural dynamic balancing skills to skiing very quickly when their learning activities make use of "transfer" of familiar movements (move feet first, move foot to foot in narrower stance, move the right foot first to go right, etc) and challenge them to do so. PMTS promotes a learning process of "movement awareness" by using activities that produce biomechanically efficient reactions in the body to movements that start with the feet.

Yes, is is very probable that we will continue to encounter students that can't balance on one foot their first hour on skis and may be dependant on a more static balanced two-foot foundation. Adapting to their needs is no problem. For them I have a fallback pathway that, although it uses use some semblance of a micro-wedge, it still developes the same foundation of efficient foot movements so that when the student's balance gets there (to move foot to foot) that student is ready to start making parallel turns.

As a profession we now have the working knowledge of more effective options to help each student learn at their own optimal pace. We can no longer justify (we never could really) imposing worst case senario limitations on every beginner as the default learning pathway. Todays newcommers have higher exspectations of us, as well they should. Lets grow and learn meet them.

The best way to learn to dance (or ski) is not by standing still (or in a wedge).

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ December 08, 2001 08:20 AM: Message edited 3 times, by Arcmeister ]</font>
post #16 of 25
My Pathway to Parallel uses the same essential efficient movement concepts as PMTS. HH an I both have similar background experiences grounded in the concept that efficient movements in skiing start with the feet, and that the simplest most efficient movements can also be the easiest to learn. Also I think we both believe that if you start by learning the same movements as the one experts use, you won't need to unlearn anything along your path to becomming one. The main varation I'd identify is in that Pathway to Parallel was designed to be flexable enough to adapt to a wide variety of needs of the potential beginner lesson profiles. P2P is adaptable to accomidate larger group lessons, station teaching, groups on mixed (long/short, shaped/straight skis) equipment, the short 1-hour lesson, narrower and/or steeper beginner terrain. P2P also was intended to be user (instructor) friendly to learn by using already familiar activities, BUT each with the same consistant efficient movement focus (first from the feet).

With a small group of students on short shape skis and flat terrain avaliable Pathway to Parallel adapts to producing parallel turns right from the get-go.

With a large group on mixed equipment for a 1-hour lesson on a crowded, narrow, pitched begginer area, P2P would promote the same activities with outcomes of some parallel and some of spontanious wedge-christies, but using the same movements providing the same learning and growth potential for each skier.

I feel as professionals we need to have options that are adaptable to meet the needs and expectations of the customer. P2P provides flexability and options to not only bridge the gap between traditional wedge progressions and direct parallel progressions but provide either of those pathways as well.

Hope this answers your Q.

Let the learning flow.......
post #17 of 25
I guess I am one of those fair weather people but don't want to admit it. I have noticed though, that forum does slow down quite a bit and the discussions shift a little in the summer, but it is still quite a bit like a family. I do check in once in a while in the summer and see all the old familar names, BB, Ott, Pierre, etc. And I make a habit of reading a lot of posts but not jumping in because half of you guys are instructors and are much more well suited to make strong points than just a finatic skier who doesn't have more than 750 vertical feet for many miles.

Oh, and btw to all, I was not implying anything on behalf of Bob Barnes when I said he would be turning over in his grave etc. ... I have just found the most sense in some of his ideas (maybe not his ideas, but I saw them through him first) forgetting about the ckicken egger situation of the weight transfer/turn deal and just focusing on direction of travel, tipping, moving the tips in the right direction, and letting the weight move as physics intended it instead of a conscious stepping to the uphill ski. It is the most gratifying smoothness in skiing. I do admit though, when skiing dynamic parallel very aggressively that I have made a pronounced weight shift before to the uphill ski for a very solid start and sometimes just for fun. I also think that a conscious stepping to the uphill ski is a great exercise and is good for early engagement in certain situations but for the most part I believe in focusing on the tipping and steering the ski.

You're right RickH, a long debate is not necessary, but how about the part about teaching people to pull the inside ski in real tight. I find that especially bad advise for people who stem. Pulling that tail in closer, you'll never catch that outside ski. I have tried that before and it never worked. But instead, focusing on turning both tips in the right direction did work wonderfully. And lastly, you'll have to come beat me over the head with a physics book to get me to understand how just tipping the ski will cause any speed control unless you have room to turn those skis back uphill. HH absolutely speaks against any foot steering at all. How do these beginners learn how to stop. Not trying to be smart or anything, but they can't carve around to a stop everytime they need to stop, can they? Especially if they are going slow. Tipping at slow speeds cannot possibly cause the skis to come around. I would hope we can agree on that. How do you guys/gals address that? Do you teach them the hockey stop? And if so, how do you get them to not use that same motion for speed control on the hill? Only seems like the natural thing for a beginner to do... that's why I ask.
post #18 of 25

Sorry for the delay, but have been pretty busy teaching beginners how to make parallel turns in our Beginner's Magic Program.

I will say this before I have to run. Our program is not that much different than PMTS in the skills that are taught. I have not gotten completely through all the post yet, and would like to do that before a major comment. I shall return. : ---------Wigs
post #19 of 25
Thread participants,

Lisamarie asked for a response from the Beginner's Magic camp, and here it is.

Our program is very much like the other direct parallel programs. If you would refer to what was posted last season, ( I think in the month of Dec ) about the direct parallel program that we teach in the Ski Schools of Aspen, ( Beginner's Magic ) you will see the similarities. Of coarse, it is still a learning experience in what works the best for our guest and us as ski pros. And it's not written in stone, yet. [img]smile.gif[/img]

To answer some of the concerns that Vman forth,
>>tipping, moving the tips in the right direction, and letting the weight move as physics intended it instead of a conscious stepping to the uphill ski. <<

I'm with you on this one Vman. Although I do introduce some stepping, it's not a big part of the early lesson plan for me after they have their skis on. Although, I do show them that if things get tight in the turn speed wise, they can always step up the hill to stop quicker. I would rather see the student start gliding on the skis as soon as possible.

>>And lastly, you'll have to come beat me over the head with a physics book to get me to understand how just tipping the ski will cause any speed control unless you have room to turn those skis back uphill. <<

And that's correct. You have to have room to let the skis go back up the hill. If you do have the room, it is a effective speed control method. HH does not believe that any steering should be incorporated,
: which IMHO is asking a lot of a new skier. I start my new students with balance and tipping drills, and yes, carved railroad track parallel type turns across a very gentle hill from the get-go. But before we go to steeper terrain, I'm talking and showing them some steering moves so they have another option for controlling their speed if things get a little scary on the edge. : I'm not talking about wedge turns. These are steered parallel turns they can do pretty easily because of what they've already learned with the tipping skills. Just don't tip as much and point your toes where you want to go, and you will skid. Also the steeper terrain I'm referring to is not that steep. In fact, it's an easy green run. Even there a student can get some speed up if riding just the edge through the turn. For some, it's exciting. But for others, it's very scary. So to have something to fall back on, like steering skills, will save your day as a pro, and theirs as a new skier just trying to survive the first day and have some fun.

IMHO, the one thing that makes this all work is the short shaped skis that we have to work with. Without them, forget it!
I've had a full season to play with this teaching method, and it works. Teaching the wedge works also, but then you have to un-teach it. I do show them the wedge, and tell them that in case of an emergency or in the liftline, use it. Otherwise, parallel turns.

IMHO, I see most major teaching systems going in this direction in there " How to teach skiing progressions ". With the new technologies in equipment, it makes it all possible. And I firmly believe it make the process of learning how to ski a much more pleasant experience for our guests.--------------Wigs

post #20 of 25
Arcmeister and Wigs,

How much terrain do you need to teach the direct parallel progression to say 10-12 students at a time? Here in Ohio we just don't have that much slope space. I will post a picture of a typical day of beginner lessons when our season starts! :

I think for a majority of smaller ski areas the main concern about direct parallel is one of liability. Ski area management does not want to leave never/evers out on the slopes without a strong braking movement. What kind of abilty for control and stopping will a never/ever have in one hour. I just have this mental image of a bunch of never/evers bomding the greens in a parallel stance with no real control after their first lesson. And is it enough to keep them comming back or do you have to sell this as a program and assure them that by the end of six weeks they will be skiing parallel.

How do you hook the never/ever to come back after that first lesson?

post #21 of 25
I am in the same boat at a small area in Wis. At my suggestions over a couple seasons our area this summer did a complete tear down and total re-grading of out beginner area to make it much longer, much flatter, much wider, with an improved counter-slope with a magic-carpet conveyor belt. I'm looking forward (we are not open with ZERO snow as yet) to seeing the opportunities/results the new terrain provides. In the past with the larger groups on crowded days, the pendulum of options swung toward the traditional end of the spectrum for activities and outcomes, but we are working with newer movement focus. We use station teaching to production line the mega-groups with a minimum number of instructors. However with a pvt, semi-pvt, or small class I'll dodge the bunny hill in favor of a big flat area at the bottom of one of our other slopes and stretch them toward the direct parallel end of the spectrum. The Pathway to Parallel progression I've written provides this kind of flexability.

I think every same old situation hides an opportunity to solution it in a new and different way. I'd hate to think all the best has already been created and tried and what we have now is as good as it gets. I'm driven to keep experimenting by the perspective that as a profession we are far more expert at teaching how we used to ski in the past than we are at teaching how we will ski in the future. To me that is a daily opportunity for creativity and discovery.

post #22 of 25

The bigger the better, but if you have ever been to Snowmass and seen our first day beginner area, you would see that we don't have much room at all. Our Poma area for the first timers is no more than fifty feet across, and thirty five yards long. I have never been to your area, but would be willing to bet that your area is larger for the teaching of first timers than ours. [img]smile.gif[/img] Of coarse after we get them out of that area, in a couple of hours or less, the next area is the Rocky Mountains. [img]smile.gif[/img]

As for one lesson and speed control.
>>I think for a majority of smaller ski areas the main concern about direct parallel is one of liability. Ski area management does not want to leave never/evers out on the slopes without a strong braking movement.<<

I agree. And that's why I show them a wedge and tell them to use it for an emergency only. I show them this before they attempt the first run on the small patch of snow we have to work on in the beginning, and make sure they can do it. Then it's on to parallel turns.

I hope this answers your concerns, and feel free to ask question on the program anytime.---------Wigs

post #23 of 25
Thread Starter 
Thank you all! This has been a highly informative, and might I say the most civil thread on this topic. For those of you who have taken workshops with Lito, how do you think his technique compares to these 3?
post #24 of 25
You wrote:>>With a large group on mixed equipment for a 1-hour lesson on a crowded, narrow, pitched begginer area, P2P would promote the same activities with outcomes of some parallel and some of spontanious wedge-christies, but using the same movements providing the same learning and growth potential for each skier.<<

Your statement here comfirms my thoughts on PMTS and direct parallel in crowded conditions. I do like your P2P and have, ever since I saw it. I will be promoting much more of this type of teaching this year. We have a pecking order at our ski hill that pretty much says you have to be level III to have believabilty and change the status quo. Few level III's here have the inclination . My main focus this year will be on improving ski teaching techniques.
I would absolutely love to get over to Viscon'son and ski with you for a day or two eh!
post #25 of 25
Great thread

There are comments about regrading hills and using short skis to accomodate direct to parallel type progressions. These requirements seem a little "Starbucky" too me.

It would appear that ski instructing is still a "bag of tricks" trade due to the environment. It is great to see some more "tricks for the bag" being implemented.

It is a pity that this forum does not include some currently trained Austrians, Swiss or French instructors to get a more holistic view of progressions.

Stepping turns and "tipping" early in the progression has been around for many years. Short "carve" type skis have not. I find it interesting that whilst short "carve" type skis are being touted as the "answer" for beginner\intermediates many experts are questioning the "usability" of these skis for relaxed everyday all mountain skiing. Is this the flipside of the short "carve" ski "no wedge" "direct parallel" progression. i.e. learn\unlearn the wedge vis learn\unlearn "all carving" turns.

Oz [img]smile.gif[/img]
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