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SCSA's A note for my on-line pals , Part II

post #1 of 38
Thread Starter 
To Bob Barnes:

To wedge or not to wedge, that is the question.

Bob, I don't know whether you have read Roger Kane's progression "Pathways To Parallel." I found quite interesting, in as much as he utilizes a "micro-wedge." I spoke with Mel Brown (female) about it and apparently a number of Central instructors have been working with the micro wedge. I have found it quite interesting, as it requires the new skier to tip to the little toe edge to start a new turn.

Unfortunately, our season ended before I obtained Roger's paper. I tried the movement and it seems to me that as the turn progresses, the free ski alignes with the stance ski. I am going to work on this movement as soon as Loveland opens and try to get proficient with it. If I can convince the "powers???" at SV, this mat become a very useful tool for thos who just can't do the stepping and shuffle turns.

Your thoughts?
post #2 of 38
Rick H,

I've elected you the voice of PMTS here!

I'd love to read that article. Can you get me a copy via email or fax?

If we count on 10-31 as opening for Loveland, it's only 118 days away! Yippee!

post #3 of 38
Okay. Hold onto your hats. I've started reading the PMTS manual.

First impressions:

1) As has been said, way to much holier-than-thou bashing. He turns this into a total us-vs-them thing.

2) Inconsistancies. They say lessons should be student centered ( totally agree), but they state one progression for all. That's contradictoy. I almost started to laugh, and I was only looking at the table of contents, when I saw a section labled "Student Directed Ski Instruction", then sections labled "xxx Progession" (as in, only one)

3) Outright lies about "Traditional teaching systems". It says that "TTSs" teach one way to learn - not true. It says that people are taught to make a wedge by brushing out the tails to start a turn - not true. If He really felt and taught that way, He wouldn't be able to pass a "TTS" level 2 exam. He says that it is less movement, and therefore more efficient to tip the inside ski and move the CM to get the turn started. I contend that, in a slightly wider stance, when you simply pressure the outside (new turning) ski, your CM is already downhill of the turning ski, and therefore is more efficient.

Also, I work in the Space and Defense arena. And he makes our use of acronyms look mild. Come on, do you really need to make an acronym for trying to determine what would work best for the student, by labling it the Greatest Positive Impact (GPI)????

However, I will now retract my statements saying that it is not a "system", and only a pregression. I was wrong. It is a system that tries to teach you how to teach.

well, lots more to read...
post #4 of 38
John, I agree that Harald's use of acronym's is WOOC (Way Out Of Control) and perhaps he's GOODE with that. (Gone Off Of the Deep End).
Still what's good about it is it's relatively simple and clear. Especially the movement analysis which he reduces to seeing how the turn is released with the stance foot. It would be nice to see this type of clarity to psia manuals, esp. for new instructors.
The instructors manual is completely tame compared to the holier than thou bashing in his "Expert Skier 1" book which is quite "trashy".
Totally agree with Bob the HH's obsession with the wedge is a marketing tool.
post #5 of 38
Yeah, Tog, I'm AOT (all over that)!

I'm getting this strange notion that his SAP (Skiing Assesmant Procedure) (a.k.a. Movement analysis) may be a bit oversimplified. AASI (the snowboard division of PSIA) started out trying to KISS, but is quickly finding that there is such a thing as OS (over simplification). He makes it sound very simple, "just look at these three things", but it really isn't. You know how the whole thing starts out screaming "balance, balance, balance"?, well, where in this SAP is checking for balance? Not only that, but in PSIA teachings, I find it to be quite simple also. As a matter of fact, there are only two things we're looking at; the overall image; and the path the skis take. And if there are problems with what we see, we break it down to the four skills (Balance, edge, pressure and Rotary). Pick the weakest and work on it. HH's method is exactly the same except that he really only looks at the turn transition at the feet. I haven't read everything yet, but I don't see anything about checking stance and balance. Isn't it odd that he tries to bust on TTSs by saying they don't address balance??? I guess he forgot that it's the main skill of the 4 skills PSIA identifies. Then he goes on to completely forget about it in his SAP. He has a very convenient memory, eh?
post #6 of 38
That micro wedge is what I started messing with a few years ago... damn right the "free foot" ski ends up matching! This is powerful stuff. Some of the more "in tune" trainers started messing with this, as well as "little toe edge awareness".

Balance issues are dealt with constantly, with the phantom move, and it variations. You can hardly keep your balance
standing still if you don't stand up centered, over your feet doing the phantom foot correctly.

It's simple, direct, and easy for students to understand. I have them go a little bowlegged with the inside knee to learn the move, holloring out Kid Rock's "I wanna be a cowwwwboy" line. LOL!

This year, I experimented with my classes. I tried teaching from my "standard bag of tricks". Then I would add PMTS free foot type stuff. Constant comments were "why didn't you show me that before", or "that was easier". The single foot excersises had the most dramatic effect!

Yea, some of it is a little "political", and it would be good to ignore that. HH was and is very frustrated with the status quo. But it's just not classy.

My favorite acronym is SMIM, the single most import movement to change for a students success. Alpha-bits for breakfast, anyone?

I skied on Sunday SCSA, hiked 4th of July bowl in Breck. Some of us are going to check out St. MAry's glacier on Sat. THe last of the high snowfields are almost gone

Where am I gonna ski in August? I can't wait 100+ days...

¯¯¯/__ SnoKarver <A HREF="http://communities.msn.com/SnoPeople

" TARGET=_blank>http://communities.msn.com/SnoKarver

post #7 of 38
A new wedge to demo...

When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro...
post #8 of 38
Hi Bob,

I'm staying out of this because it's over my head.

But Holy Smokes, Bob! That last post of yours is heavy!

Correct me if I'm wrong. But the way I read it, you're calling him a liar?

<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by SCSA (edited July 06, 2001).]</FONT>
post #9 of 38

Yeah, that about sums it up. I also agree completely with Roto's comments that I cringe when people say they learned from HH's system. Not because of any technical info, but because you know they were bombarded with his rhetoric.

I find it true, almost without exception, that no matter the industry, it's the weaker guy/product who feels the need to disparage and misrepresent competitors. For example, you won't see Mercedes or Porsche making disparaging comments about Hyundai or Kia. You won't see Stanford or Yale trying to tell you how terrible the University Of Maryland is. You won't find Gary Fischer putting out adds that tout his bikes superiority over Huffy.

Had Harold just come out and said Here's a new way to teach, give it a shot, it might work for you, it's got some merits, he might have a lot more business, and a lot fewer enemies, as well as wasting a lot fewer trees for his manuals
post #10 of 38
Roto - I listened to 2 Live on the way in to work today. They are just so funny... they make me smile. A bit like skiing does.
post #11 of 38
Pop that p----, pop pop that p---- baby!
post #12 of 38
As I read a bit more into H2's manual, I get the distinct impression that he has sold his soul to the devil.

There's all this talk about not using rotary (steering) movements, then, along comes his first exercise in this first progression, and he's teaching pure femur rotation. It's kind of like that guy on the highway, in the left lane, that keeps fluctuating between 50 and 80mph. He needs to pick a speed and stick with it.

I've gotten a bit of the way into the progressions, and it is definitely a paint-by-numbers approach to ski instruction. This system is so closed that he is telling the instructor no only exactly what exercises to do, but how many times to repeat them and what to tell the students.

He's so into saying that everything must be done with little toe edges, and wants so desperately to avoid using an inside edge (big toe edge - which, by the way, is the one you SKI on), that his method of teaching people to side step will have students floundering all over the hill, and the instructor, if trained ONLY with H2's system, will be clueless as to how to fix it.

It's quite frustrating to read. I really want, at least, for the technical portions to be accurate, because I have been lead to believe they are. But he has compromised the instructors ability to teach in a manner that will work for his need to bash TTSs and to be different from them.

I shall return.......
post #13 of 38
Judging by the "letter" I got from him yesterday, he wants to be seen as "ornery". I might go ahead and get my free trial issue of Inside Tracks, but a lot of it sounds like common knowledge. I'll be interested to see if it's any good or not.
post #14 of 38
I was just browsing his website. He was product manager for Nava? Ha-ha. But at least it shows he's not locked into conventional thinking. It's good to keep an open mind. You just have to be sure that your brain doesn't fall out...
post #15 of 38

You must have missed my post yesterday, where I retracted my statements from last week, and agreed, whole heartedly, that PMTS is a teaching system. That's okay. I can't read every post either. Just too many of them.

As far as side stepping goes. You are probably correct. But he goes into excruciating detail about some things, such as telling the instructor how many times to repeat an exercise, and what to say to people, then he goes and leaves out some fairly importiant pieces of information, like the fact that if the inside (big toe) edge of the downhill ski is not properly set in the snow, the skier will not make any progress up the hill. He didn't mention a single word about the downhill ski in this exercise, and this is the most common problem beginners have with side stepping.

The final statement about compromising the instructor's ability to teach, may, in the end, turn out to not be true. But for as far as I have gotten through the manual, it does seem to be the case. But then, this opinion is a lot more open to subective criticism. And as I said, I really do want the technical portions to be accurate. After all, the guy was a d-teamer, so I'm sure he has some exceptional skiing and teaching abilities, and I really hope that they come through in this manual.
post #16 of 38
Bob and Pierre,

I agree that there may be some benefit to a paint-by-numbers approach for rookies, however, when you hire new instructors at your mountains, don't you run them through clinics to teach them these basics?

We require all of our rookies to attend certain mandatory clinics as well as shadow lessons before they get their first class. Then, their first classes are shadowed by trainers or other experienced instructors, and notes are taken, and feedback is given. In these mandatory clinics, we definitely do teach them to run through a prescribed series of exercises until they better understand the "how" and "why" of things (which we explain during the clinics). Afterall, when you get a new hire, you don't dump the ATS manual in their lap and tell them to come back next weekend for their first day of teaching, do you? Most ski instructors won't have their first exposure into PSIA or the ATS manual until after their first season. I think PSIA expects the TD and training staff to prepare their rookies. Do you expect PSIA to do that? If so, who pays for the rookies to attend PSIA events and buy reading materials? I doubt too many rookies would be willing to wait for, then attent and pay for a for-credit PSIA clinic before starting to teach.
post #17 of 38
Bob B.,

You're right, fraud was a synonym. I'll edit my post to change the word fraud to liar.

As far as the rest goes, here's what I think. There's what Harald says, and what you guys say. The real truth is always somewhere in between.

For the record, in that unsolicited email sent to HH, my advice was text book "How to Win Friends and Influence People". My observations and recommendations were text book, "Business 101".

I've said it before, I'll say it again. Sales, and nothing else, will determine if it's a cult fad or next new thing.

I totally disagree with you guys on IT. Every issue, I find stuff that's relevant - that I can use. Ski Magazine makes for great reading on the throne, and the pictures are nice, but that's about it.

Looking forward to practicing my cult skills
post #18 of 38
Thread Starter 
What did I start here???

John H: I agree with you on the rotation of the femur; But it is internal rotation, not external rotation as is done in steering. The outside/downhill/stance ski is passive. The movement of the CM into the turn tips the stance ski on its edge.

Let me know when you get to transferring. There is a little nuance that I don't think is in the book. I will be gone for the weekend and I answer on Monday.

post #19 of 38
Thread Starter 
To All:

Roger Kane's progression can be found at: http://www.hyperchangecafe.com/practice/ Click on Beginners Progression

post #20 of 38
Interesting comments about how you deal with new hires and pin candidates. I think that the Ed Staff feeds that "figure it out for yourself" attitude that you see. Afterall, you do have a lot of Ed Staff at your mountain. The atmosphere is very much the opposite at my mountain, when it comes to training. We make it a point to give people every possible bit of help to get them through exams and to help them understand what they (examiners) are looking for. We try to eliminate every bit of mystery to the process, going as far as running mock exams. However, I have had people, who I know were ready for exams, come back without passing, and I don't understand why. But not being at the exam and watching their performance leads me to believe that maybe it got too much into their head, and they choked. Unfortunately, there is a lot of self induced stress at exams because people really want to pass.
post #21 of 38

I agree that it is pulling the toes in rather than pushing the heel out (which is a proper move in both teaching systems), but it still contradicts his earlier statements that said something to the effect that we should not be rotating our femurs (I won't look up the exact words because I don't want to quote his copyrighted materail). I think the te comments earlier in the book were the marketing propoganda, and his exercises in the progression are useful and in line with anyone's current thinking of turning a ski. I was just pointing out the contradiction, that's all.
post #22 of 38

It's a new acronym - MISSPM! I love it. Sounds like something that happens in the morning, while reading Ski Magazine.

I'm with ya, you know that. Speaking of which, Mrs. SCSA is PMTSing (oh shit. LisaMarie is going to have a field day with me when she gets back). She's now threatening to take a away my keyboard if I don't get her a Silver Stream. See what you've done?

Better get to work...
post #23 of 38
Give her a pearl necklace instead.
post #24 of 38
Pierre, I could see how that could be the case. I've had the good fortune to watch a ski school grow from the ground up, because my little hill only opened in the '90/'91 season, and I was on board from day one. At first, it was a great big party. No cliques, no attitudes, just fun and loads of talented skiers (not to mention more than our fair share of Ed Staff members). This is because very few people knew each other. The ones that did, knew each other from working at another local hill together.

As time went on, and people became friends and there was turnover, groups and cliques started to form. I try my damndest to include anyone and everyone into what is going on, but it's not always possible. People (especially rookies) see the trainers hanging out together and they feel like outsiders. They don't feel like they can ask questions or participate. They attend a clinic then they disappear. We do a lot of video analysis, but because of how much time it takes, we can't include everyone all the time. So as soon as someone is told we don't have room for them, they stop asking to attend any more, and feel like we are copping attitudes. Yet nothing could be further from the truth. I'd bet that your Ed Staff members may have just become their own group of friends, and it becomes very intimidating for rookies or Level 1s to approach them. If your Ed Staff members are deliberatly excluding people or witholding information, or just not helping the rank and file instructors grow, then they need some sort of lesson asking them why they are there in the first place. What's their motivation. And if it's not to teach people (in their case, other instuctors) how to ski and teach, and their motives are motivated only by ego, then they should be told to hit the road. Although the problem is that no SSD would fire an Ed Staff member. But if they are doing more harm then good, why not? (rhetorical - don't answer that)
post #25 of 38
I have a question for RickH and SnoKarver.

I've finished the Green section, and although it's nothing new, the progression to match the skis if the skier starts with a wedge is really well done. Basically, a great wedge christie progression.

As I read the exercises and the emphasis given to the inside ski and a somewhat narrow stance, I got the daunting feeling that if this was done with a beginning student, it would lead to some serious pressuring of the inside ski. Possibly to the point of losing contact of the outside ski to the snow. He makes mention of balancing on the little toe edge of the inside ski for side stepping as well as doing what I have always referred to as "thousand steps" (stepping through a turn). Even when teaching beginners using opposing edges, you'll get people trying to turn by tipping the shoulders and banking into the turn. I would think that by going through these progressions, it would increase the likelihood of this. I haven't really looked too far forward in the manual, except at the table of contents, but how does this get addressed in the beginner student? I also noticed that his movement analysis (SAP) doesn't mention anything other than what is going on with the feet. How does this system address detection and correction of upper body problems at the beginner level? Are there any methods or rules for this that are PMTS specific, just not in the manual? In one set of pictures, the demo even shows some serious shoulder initiation. This probably (hopefully) was not intentional, but, eee gads, what a lousy image. It leads me to believe that if she is doing it unintentionally in a photo sequence that made the manual, then it could be a serious problem for the beginner student.
post #26 of 38
Ski schools do suffer in many cases from a "quasi-militaristic hierarchy" type culture, which if untended, tends to stratify into cliques. The old-wizened vets, the FNG's, not to mention the cast system certification imposes. Deconstructing this emerging structure, or avoiding it all together was the intent of POD systems and training groups. The grasshopper-sensei relationships and "you'll have to figure it out yourself!", coyness and "guided discovery", cul de sac, clinics I sometimes witness, tend to expose a lack of a clinicians abilty to synthesize rather than blatant propriatory reluctance.
It is true however, that some clinic junkies who are never available to teach, and are motivated solely for selfish, pin collection, are sometimes shunned by gifted potential mentors. They feel that individual contributes little to the whole and merely demands to be fed...without the practice and dedication others have committed. The "feed me, feed me" duck-out of work types are the worst.
I will always have the time, patience and key to my bag of tricks for those trench warriors, who after a full day of teaching ask to go out for a last run.
As for the incestuous relationship PK and HH have developed and the vitrol for all things PSIA, PK has had his personal/buisness ups and downs (as rumour has it virtually on the street 10 yrs ago) and HH has alienated himself from the Ed community as a whole. They seem to be a match of convenience. <FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by Robin (edited July 06, 2001).]</FONT>
post #27 of 38
Wow, Bob.

Well and specifically stated. You have gotten to the root of my distaste for the matter. One thing I find particularly distasteful is HH taking advantage of the learning partnership. Obviously he is a gifted ski teacher. He gets through to people. But he misuses them at the same time for his gain. It borders on abuse of power.

The reason I cringe when I see PMTS/Hskisystem testimonials isn't because someone learned through an 'alternative method.' It's the indoctrinated rhetoric they spew which is so obviously part of what they learn on the hill. Disagreements between instructors should not be played out with clients as pawns. How distasteful. How unprofessional. How low.

I am concerned that the more we kick and scream about the whole thing, the more popular his views will become.
"The more one tries to defend oneself, the more guilty they look."
It almost reminds me of censorship battles between D.C. and MCs.(Ice-T, 2-Live Crew) Their albums would have been much smaller if it weren't for the attention their detractors brought to them. I take comfort in that no one hears about 2-Live Crew anymore. The Answer???
post #28 of 38
Thread Starter 

The wedge to phantom move is for students that have learned to wedge, not first-timers. These students have some ability to balance or we go back to the basics, G4-G24.

The difference between 1000 step and the PMTS is the focus on the little toe edge. When I demo this, I face the class and step to my uphill ski, with the LTE hitting the snow first. The ski will slide a bit before the edge bites. This is a feeling that i want the students to feel. When they feel the edge bite, then they can follow with the down hill ski. One word of caution; These steps MUST be small steps. As we learned in accreditation clinics; tiny steps. The main reason is it is easier for new skiers to maintain balance if their skis are under their hips. A stationary 90 deg turn should take at least three complete steps. Four would be better. That is step, follow, step, follow, step, follow. I have seen instructors get into real trouble by demoing with too large a step. Then the students try to follow suit. It just does not work. Out of the beginner-beginner area, we do long garlands to emphisize the stepping; three step up and three steps down. It is here that the students realize what we have been teaching. They are moving across the hill without being threatened. At the end of each garland, we have taught the student how to do the "bullfighter" turn. This turn will get them out of trouble on most green or blue terrain. As they more comfortable with stepping, I show them how to step through the fall line.

If a student is having trouble with stepping, (and there is one in every class) I show them how to shuffle. I show the whole class how to shuffle after stepping through the fall line. In order for the skis to turn in a shuffle, the leading inside ski must be tipped to the little toe edge. It takes about two shuffles of the inside ski and the skis are turning on their own. It doesn't take much more work to get the students into parallel. At this point in the lesson, we are about 1 3/4 - 2 hours into the lesson. For me, the shuffle is the key to first day parallel. It is fast and easy. The students are learning how to glide on the skis and are exposed to feeling the ski turn.

Rich Messer, our SSD, is not a fan of the shuffle. But it works for me and the students seem to like it. I suggest to the students to try just one shuffle and see what the skis will do. "The skis turn on their own!"

It is movements like these that make the system work. However, they must be done accurately or it does not work. And we have instructors at SV who don't have a clue.

It is time to get ready to go to Utah and backpacking in the Unitahs...

post #29 of 38
>>Ski schools do suffer in many cases from a "quasi-militaristic hierarchy" type culture, which if untended, tends to stratify into cliques. The old-wizened vets, the FNG's, not to mention the cast system certification imposes. <<

Sounds remarkably like *every other* profession, educational system and club in existance.

We humans and our egos eh?

~Todd M.
post #30 of 38
Enough Already. I know..I know...I'm a participant in all this too. If I don't want to read it, don't open the post, right? Now I just have to prove to myself I do have willpower...

When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro...
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