or Connect
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Notes from HH

post #1 of 136
Thread Starter 

Harald gave me the permission to post this. I think it's really informative.

Dear SCSA,

I recently had another look to Epic because Rick Hammel sent me a copy of a post from someone who demonstrated a list of motivations for skiing. While there, I checked the Robert Butler forum, as I used to know a Robert Butler when I was in Canada skiing for the Canadian Ski Team.

I noticed a long discussion about stance width and female issues in skiing. My proclivity is to stand on science rather than people’s personal opinions on almost all of these issues. First, I don’t believe in or like what Jeanne Thorne is doing to women. Do women need another skiing stereotype to feel insecure about?

Diana Rogers, Bob Hintermeister and I did considerable research on the anatomical differences and deviations between women and men. We recruited PT’s and biomechanists and we presented our findings to the International Congress of Skiing and Science in 2000. In fact, Hintermeister Ph.D. did a study and a paper, for a presentation to the Vail Ski School, a number of years ago about the similarity between men and women rather then dwelling on differences, which turn out to be minimal. The anthropomorphic data collected for men and women also demonstrates little difference, actually less then 5%. This relationship is specifically for differences between position of center of mass, hip width and Q angle. I know this probably won’t satisfy the advocates of women’s problems in skiing and their quest to identify that women have special needs. I hope not to generate a backlash, especially since this information is not my opinion, it is just scientific data.

I digress, last week the "Association of PMTS Direct Parallel Instructors" hosted its annual PMTS Instructor College, at Copper. We had forty instructors from around the world, which includes skiers from Australia and Germany. On the second day, I coached a mixed group of men and women. Of the six skiers, two women were bowlegged and two men were knock-kneed. If we go by Jeannie’s formula, one should make an assumption that all men have "Q angle" issues. If we use this group as an example men could be considered to have large Q angles and wide hips. I would prefer to address their individual needs, for the next man that comes to the group might be bowlegged?

Again, this demonstrates men and women should be addressed on an individual case by case basis, rather then separated by gender classifications. The stereotypical representations of each gender – the wide-hipped, knock-kneed female and the narrow-hipped, bowlegged male – do not accurately represent the variation of body types that exist among either gender. In fact, there is a large overlap of body types between the genders, pointing again to the need for individualized assessment rather than gender-based assumptions.

I collected alignment data on skiers over four years between 1995 to 1999. Based on one thousand profiles, I sorted the skiers into three categories: bowlegged, knocked-kneed and mixed alignment, (mixed refers to inside aligned on one leg and out on the other). The results are interesting. Thirty percent were knock-kneed, thirty percent bowed and the rest mixed. When I separated the genders, to my amazement, the percentages stayed the same (within or less then five percent difference).

I do believe some women are more comfortable learning from women and I don’t have any problems with that, just as some women prefer women doctors. I have coached women, who won World Cup races and became World Champions, as I have taught women who are beginners. I treat their needs for alignment, movement and equipment, based on results of biomechanical assessments and balancing ability, not on whether they are men or women. I believe there are people in the ski business doing great disservice to women by treating them for supposed, gender symptoms, rather then doing proper biomechanical evaluations.

I also found the stance width debate similar to the ongoing discussion in skiing and racing. I would like to clear up my position and that of PMTS Direct Parallel. Learning to balance on one ski is an important skill in skiing. Balancing on one ski in a wide stance without assistance from momentum is impossible. We therefore teach beginners and intermediates (who ski at slower speeds and therefore low or almost no forces act on them) to balance in a narrow stance until they become aware of the balancing phenomenon in skiing. When skiers are not generating forces or much momentum, a narrow stance allows them to move their center of mass easily and more quickly. Once they begin to ski faster and do generate forces, they will be able to adjust as necessary and still ski with balance. The confusion in much of the instructor community, again, is the lack of understanding of true "balance" in skiing. I see almost all lessons underlined by instructions directing students to stand in a wide stance, compromising a skier’s balance. I feel bad watching skiers on the slopes struggling unnecessarily due to a lack of balance. They are trapped in the wide stance they were taught, which limits movements and improvement.

Ski racing is not immune to this problem. I observe coaches doing the same thing to young racers. Young racers are no different then learning skiers. If they are not capable of developing a holding ski with a balanced body over the edge, they are not able to generate enough forces to widen their stance. Because Hermann Maier has a 36 inch waist and skis at fifty miles per hour in giant slalom, doesn’t mean a twelve-year-old skier should hold their skis two feet apart. Trying to emulate Hermann Maier or any other World Cup racer’s stance is a mistake for young racers and many instructors. They would be better served to first develop balance with appropriate stance. Hermann knows how to balance and can lift his inside ski at any time during a skiing run. He does not need to use the inside ski as a crutch to lean on. If you ask skiers who learn without balance and utilize the wide stance, to lift the inside ski in a turn, ninety percent will fall over.

I had the opportunity to work with Erich Schlopy this summer. We build footbeds for him, which help is ankle articulation in his ski boots. I met him last week and he is having success and likes the footbeds. He also always works on balancing exercises, Erich works very hard to improve his one footed balance. He skis in a narrow stance when practicing balance at moderate speeds.

A wide stance is even more debilitating for skiers who are knock-kneed. When a knock-kneed skier puts their skis farther apart they become more knock-kneed, locking them on the big toe edges. A skier with a knock-kneed stance needs to narrow the stance to become more balanced. Narrowing the stance aligns and moves the knees to line up over the center of the boots. Many of my clients arrive with a wide stance, because they were told to spread their feet in ski lessons. This is the shotgun approach. Instructors teach a wide stance because they heard it from a trainer or they are expected to ski this way in some exam final forms. There is little consideration, regard or knowledge directed toward alignment in most ski lessons. Fifty percent of skiers are far enough out of alignment that alignment is the major obstacle in achieving success. If instructors can be more sensitive and informed about individual needs especially regarding stance width, a big hurdle can be overcome.

I know that some progress is being made with regards to understanding some of these biomechanical issues. Instructors are not getting enough of this information in training. Many, thankfully are finding out by reading and studying. I encourage all skiers to avail themselves of this information. Try to stay away from opinions of the quote, "experts" who do the Band-Aid jobs. Do the homework and find information from those who have done the research collected data and tied themselves to the sciences.

As some have already noted, I am not an advocate boots together, narrow stance skiing in all situations. In my skiing I vary stance according to balancing needs. I demonstrate a variety of stance widths in my videos and book photos. I do teach a narrower stance as part of PMTS Direct Parallel exercises to introduce balance and efficient movements to students. A student grasps balance more readily with a narrower stance, especially at lower speeds on flat less intimidating slopes. This approach develops awareness for dynamic balancing versatility and body adaptability.

SCSA, if you think this information would be helpful to the group on Epic, you may post this in its entirety.

Hope this helps,

post #2 of 136
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>I noticed a long discussion about stance width and female issues in skiing. My proclivity is to stand on science rather than people’s personal opinions on almost all of these issues. First, I don’t believe in or like what Jeanne Thorne is doing to women. Do women need another skiing stereotype to feel insecure about? <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Well Put!
post #3 of 136
"A wide stance is even more debilitating for skiers who are knock-kneed. When a knock-kneed skier puts their skis farther apart they become more knock-kneed, locking them on the big toe edges. A skier with a knock-kneed stance needs to narrow the stance to become more balanced. Narrowing the stance aligns and moves the knees to line up over the center of the boots. Many of my clients arrive with a wide stance, because they were told to spread their feet in ski lessons. This is the shotgun approach. Instructors teach a wide stance because they heard it from a trainer or they are expected to ski this way in some exam final forms. There is little consideration, regard or knowledge directed toward alignment in most ski lessons. Fifty percent of skiers are far enough out of alignment that alignment is the major obstacle in achieving success. If instructors can be more sensitive and informed about individual needs especially regarding stance width, a big hurdle can be overcome."

I'm having trouble with this. I can't really see any skier knock kneed or bow legged skiing a high speed turn with a narrow stance. At some time their skis are going to have to seperate or they just won't be able to angulate. Is he advocating a narrow stance in the transition/pre innitiation phase of the turn? Or is he simply not refering to high speed turns at all?
post #4 of 136

When are you going to quit skiing with your boots locked together? From the sound of things, HH is saying this is taught at the early stages of his progression.Bumps and powder perhaps. Bob has already explained it isn't a requisit in these circumstances. I'd just like to see a little glimmer of daylight between those Dalbellos
post #5 of 136
"If you ask skiers who learn without balance and utilize the wide stance, to lift the inside ski in a turn, ninety percent will fall over."

"Try to stay away from opinions of the
quote, "experts" who do the Band-Aid jobs. Do the homework and find information from those who have done the research collected data and tied themselves to the sciences."

post #6 of 136
What a concept--looking at skiers as individuals! Is that idea patented?

Recognizing, on the other hand, that women in general TEND to have a larger Q-angle, a lower center of mass in relation to their height, a relatively longer femur, a relatively lighter upper body and lighter arms and hands, a calf muscle that tapers more abruptly lower on the leg, and so on, than men can be useful information in understanding some of the things we see.

Yes, when dealing with a skier, it is the INDIVIDUAL proportions and attributes that matter, along with the individual skills, attitudes, motivations, goals, athletic backgrounds, fitness, equipment, and equipment setup. It is ALWAYS a mistake to teach according to an assumption based on generalizations--and I'd add, it's the surest way to fail an instructor certification exam.

But understanding general trends and tendencies is certainly helpful. And Mr. Harb must agree--otherwise, why would he make a statement like "Fifty percent of skiers are far enough out of alignment that alignment is the major obstacle in achieving success"? And what's the point of the generalization that "much of the instructor community" suffers from a "lack of understanding of true 'balance' in skiing"? Whether this statement is true or not, what matters is the individual instructor teaching you right now--eh?

"Instructors are not getting enough of this information in training." WHICH instructors, Harald?

Come on Harald! PLEASE stop making generalizations about instructors. And stop making SCSA do your dirty work for you and post these messages yourself, if you think they're important. Then stick around and deal with the discussion that ensues. You'll find more agreement than disagreement with many of your ideas--stop making the generalization, implied or expressed, that anyone else "doesn't get it."

I, for one, agree completely with you that Jeannie Thoren has made some overly general recommendations for women, which may be dead wrong for some individuals (and may be good advice for some individual men, too).

I agree 100% that "men and women should be addressed on an individual case by case basis, rather then separated by gender classifications"--and I'll bet that every instructor you ask will agree too.

I'll ask. Do any of you instructors out there disagree with the above statement?

I agree with you also that no one can balance on two skis unless they can balance on one ski. The ability to balance on one foot is crucial to expert skiing--even if experts often find themselves weighting both skis, or the inside ski. But--don't take this personally--I do NOT agree that the only solution that follows from this premise is that beginners must be taught with a very narrow stance or that they must be taught to make an active 100% weight transfer to the outside ski to make a turn. I have previously explained my rationale, and am prepared to do it again, if I need to.

SCSA--please tell Harald that he is welcome to post here in person, and welcome to discuss his ideas with us. Tell him we welcome his ideas, but that doesn't mean we don't find anything to discuss about them. Yes, he will need to support them with more than "appeals to authority" (it's true because someone with lots of letters after his name says it's true). If someone disagrees with him, tell him it is an opportunity to defend and clarify his ideas--not a personal attack against him. If he's right, a little disagreement and subsequent clarification will only make his case stronger. But please tell him to stop implying that everyone else--or ANYONE else--is wrong. Please tell him to deal with other ideas and other instructors on a "case by case basis." Tell him to come out and look us in the eye....

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #7 of 136
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>If you ask skiers who learn without balance and utilize the wide stance, to lift the inside ski in a turn, ninety percent will fall over.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Yes, Rusty--this IS the issue, isn't it? This is exactly the conclusion we reached some time ago--that IF you're going to ask a skier to lift a ski, THEN it makes sense to utilize a narrow stance.

But I still question--why, then, ask a beginning skier to lift that inside ski in the turn in the first place? Does it "teach balance"? No--it simply reveals the lack of balance that beginners--naturally enough--tend to have. And it forces them not into balance, but to compensate for their imbalance with gross upper body movements or by pushing their one foot around to keep from falling over.

Surely, EXERCISES involving balance on foot--lifting a ski, playing around with one ski off, stepping, and even turning with a ski lifted--are GREAT for developing balance, at any level. But I maintain that insisting that beginners lift a ski to make a turn--narrow stance or otherwise--is more likely to cause problems than to solve them.

Mr. Harb--I submit, as Exhibit A, your very own "poster child"--you know who I'm talking about--as evidence that teaching a narrow stance and a "lift" weight transfer/release can cause a stemmed pushoff turn entry habit. Rather than promoting a smooth release into the new turn, it is likely to foster a push of the tails to the outside to initiate. This I have maintained--and I have proof!

Best regards,
Bob Barnes

(By-the-way--I have personally done considerable and extensive research in this area, along with thousands of my colleagues, many of whom have letters after their names, utilizing a random test sample of hundreds of thousands of real skiers, over the past 20+ years. Therefore, I am right!)
post #8 of 136
A few points: One of the things that does not appeal to MY PERSONAL ESTHETICS about Butler's style of skiing, is that, at least in his segments on Skiers World, his stance APPEARS to be static, and constantly in a locked position. Does this mean I think he is a "bad skier". Absolutely not! Its a question of personal esthetics. There are probably many people who don't know the difference between a plie and a squat who do not enjoy the movements of the Martha Graham Dance Troup.

Does that mean that the members of the Graham Troup are not good dancers?

I find it interesting that Harb chose to ignore my repeated references to men and BOYISHLY BUILT WOMEN, implying that I felt that stance width was more an issue of pelvic bone width, as opposed to an exclusively gender related issue.

And as far as equipment goes, many of my female friends who are 5'8 with narrow hip bones have never been comfortable in women specific equipment.

Back in college, I took a course in statistics and experimental design. On the first day, the instructor told us that it was virtually imposssible to control every variable necessary to perform an experiment or study with absolute validity.

With tongue in cheek, he told us that the purpose of taking this course, was to learn how to manipulate the statistics so that they would sound impressive, thus enabling us to pass our courses and eventually publish "scientific" papers that would impress our collegues in our area of expertise.

Recently, I attended a workshop from Sports Medicine expert JC Santana. He made a rather interesting statement. If a concept is presented to you totally based on "scientific research", but does not strike you as being logical, it is a concept that needs to be questioned.

For myself, I have attempted the boot locked position on far too many occaisions, including powder. It has no inner logic for me. It does not work for me. Its not fun. Why do it?
post #9 of 136
How about a comfortable stance or a balanced stance?
Very much so agreed that many skiiers are out of balance. Most of my 'stuck in the rut intermediate' students need balance work. Most of my students are intermediates.

Alignment...am I wrong to think that this is not an instructor's problem? If someone needs aligned-canted-shimmed-a new boot, whatever...is there something that I can do about it once they are outside with me? I can only work with what I have out on the mountain. Maybe it's easier to adress the issue in a private lesson, but in a group, no way. I suppose I could reccommend to a student to see a boot specialist, but it's hard to convince a weekend skiier to do so.

As for Thoren I think she makes up excuses for women who aren't skiing as well as they could. I agree that it is not a Men's-Women's issure. There are some women that do very well in her following. People do get held back by equipment, but I think that there are plenty that just need to ski a little more. But she skis more and makes more money than me.
Skis, boots, bindings are all inanimate office suplies to me. Ask Ott how they skiied on hickory skis in leather boots.
An ex-racer named Barbera could burn me down the mountain on old SCX rentals.
Pierre told me that equipment can't make one more skilled, but why not buy the best equipmant advantage one can? Works for me.

Thanks for reading and responding.
I love to be enlightened.
post #10 of 136
Thread Starter 

This is BS!

I am not a poster child for PMTS and I am not "Exhibit A".

I can make perfect parallel turns too Bob, and if you'd have given me another hour, I'd have had the pivot slips down too.

You can't take just one skier. You want to see someone who represents PMTS really well? Ski with SnoKarver.

I was hoping you wouldn't pick on my skiing. Say what you want. But just remember. I have 120 days in coming into this year -- I can ski anywhere you do, just as well or better.

Most important, with a big 'ole smile.
post #11 of 136
Right Zeek--equipment can't make us more (or less) skilled. But it sure can prevent us from getting the most out of the skills we have! And the right equipment can sure maximize our enjoyment at any skill level.

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #12 of 136
Come on, Harold.
Get a login.
Why hide behind SCSA?

Bob, how much should I deal with alignment?
Is it my problem as an instructor?

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ November 25, 2001 09:26 PM: Message edited 1 time, by zeek ]</font>
post #13 of 136
Bob, chill out. As a somewhat objective(and enthusiastic, I might add) reader and occasional poster in this excellent forum, it's disheartening to see your time go into this type of diatribe. You're a superb skiing mind with great insights and knowledge to offer any of us, Harold as well. You don't have to continually prove yourself in this way, over and over. In my reading I think HH is also in your realm of expertise and has valid concepts, many differing only in semantics or emphasis. I believe I've read comments to that effect as well. I wish you had spent your time telling me and everyone else ways to improve our ability to move our centers of mass down the hill and through our turns,etc...(hint, hint).

Please don't take this wrong, I respect you and would love to meet you at Copper this winter if for no other reason than to say thanks for the posts that I've learned from, but, put out that smokin' gun, that old horse over there is definitely dead.

Hope you have a superb ski season,
post #14 of 136
No, its not your problem as an instructor. But I think if a student appears to truly understand everything that you are saying, but still cannot perform specific skills, the instructor can recommend that the student have their equipment looked at.

If the Jeannie Thoren thing is BS, why are so many women skiing better after her workshops?

Furthermore, why is it considered gospel if someone says that they ski better after a Harold Harb workshop, but BS if they say that they skied better after a Jeannie Thoren workshop?

post #15 of 136
I am very, very interested in this whole PMTS vis PSIA debate. I am "pre gay skis" trained but have a wealth of "on hill" knowledge in various countries and with various ski associations.

I have seen many “systems” of skiing championed by many different ski instructor bodies. So far over the years the vast majority have been just the same words rearranged to sound like new sentences.

What myself and my clients would really benefit from, are postings that come direct from the originator (not dumping on SCSA here as if was not for SCSA the debate would be dead)

Posts that allow me to ask clarification questions direct to the poster

Oz [img]smile.gif[/img]

We are talking skiing and it is 32 degrees Celsius outside here. I am crazy. [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #16 of 136
I have no experience with workshops.
Maybe it's too much work for me.

HH's ideas are gender neutral.
JT is a women only deal. -I think.

She's catching flack for generalizing about what she thinks are women only issues whereas the other side thinks they are individual issues.

Either way-the skiing gets better.

I wouldn't sign up for either workshop.

Can I squeeze in a personal side note?
It's much easier to do movement analysis on women in stretch pants...
Or racers in race suits, but I still perfer the fromer.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ November 25, 2001 10:09 PM: Message edited 1 time, by zeek ]</font>
post #17 of 136
SCSA--SCSA--SCSA--whoa boy! Please don't be offended by anything I've written. I do not mean to inflame, only to discuss a very important technical issue. I am not passing judgement on your ability or anyone else's (what makes you think I was even talking about you?)

You, SCSA, are an outstanding athlete, a motivated student, and a skier of considerable skill. You are also--despite occasional appearances to the contrary here at EpicSki--a gentleman and a genuinely good guy. I very much enjoyed skiing with you the other day, and I look forward to doing it again. I'll give you another hour--and then some--and it will be a pleasure.

That said (and please--do not take offense at this--you long ago asked me to watch you ski and to comment objectively here on your technique and ability)--there are things you do well, and things I would recommend that you work on--as with anyone, at any level. The following is NOT a value judgement--it is an objective description of what I saw in your skiing.

You ski with a very narrow stance, as you know. You demonstrated the skill and balance required to roll your downhill ski off its edge ("release") and guide its tip into the turn (indeed--you were able to do this while lifting the UPHILL ski, an athletic and balancing feat many instructors are unable to perform). But your "habit" is to push off from that downhill ski. Your habit, at least as you demonstrated it last Tuesday, is not to release the edge of the downhill ski, but to hold onto it while (very slightly) opening the tail of the uphill ski into a tiny "stem," then quickly bringing the downhill (inside) ski along side it for the rest of the turn. This is NOT a parallel turn, "perfect" or otherwise. (Although in your case, it takes a close look to recognize it, because it is subtle and quick.) Ironically, this is quite contrary to what Harald calls the "phantom move" and it is not the way Harald (usually) skis.

And yes, this stem/pushoff movement pattern IS what I have repeatedly warned as a potential unintended consequence of the PMTS progression, as it has been represented here--specifically, the "lifted release" taught to beginners. Indeed, the times when you really demonstrated a clean release and glide into the new turn were when you lifted the UPHILL ski and made a completely "weighted release" on the downhill/inside ski.

As we explored it a bit on Tuesday, the antidote to this "stem christy" movement pattern does not require a WIDE stance. But it DOES require pulling the inside tip into the turn turn (pulling the skis apart), rather than pushing the outside tail out of the turn (then pulling the skis together). As I showed you, even when I allow my stance to become extremely narrow, I am still continuously pulling my skis apart, rather than pulling them together, throughout the turn. I am constantly resisting the tendency of the forces of the turn to pull my skis together. The moment I stop doing this, the inside ski interferes with the outside ski, which can no longer carve, so it either stops turning, or turns by skidding the tail out.

As for pivot slips--yes, I'm sure you can master them with a little practice. But you CANNOT DO THEM with your feet locked together. You cannot do them unless each foot pivots about its own separate axis. As you recall, what you did involved a very solid blocking pole plant to cause the pivot. Without the pole, you accomplished the pivot by counter-rotating your upper and lower body. Only when you separate your feet at least a little can you pivot them by using only your feet and legs--which is what the pivot slip is about. To do a pivot slip, you release the edges of the skis, allowing them to sideslip straight down the fall line. Then you pivot both ski tips downhill and all the way around to a sideslip again with the ski pointing the opposite direction. All of this must take place straight down the fall line (inability to do this points at incomplete edge release, incorrect fore/aft balance, or the wrong rotary mechanics) and must occur without ever setting the edges (an edgeset allows you to create the "platform" to push off from). SCSA--no offense, but you were FAR from slipping straight down the fall line, and your pivots all involved an edgeset/pushoff, often with a sequential (stem) pivot.

Once again, SCSA, I hope I am not offending you. You did ask me to speak objectively of what I saw. I am not "dissing" your ability or skill--just describing what I saw. I would love to work with you on these things. You once stated that you would like to post some video of yourself. If you still want to do this, I and my video camera are at your disposal. How about next week some time?

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #18 of 136
It is very interesting to me that so much time is spent tlaking about how important it is to be able to ski on one foot. if this is the key, why does everyone always use two footed process to make foot beds and also to determine how much cant is needed. I don't want to do the soap box thing but wouldent it be great if there was a quick easy fix available for beginners and experts that was based on a one footed test. It is all around you. Inner boot canting is available for your students. Takes 15 minuets and is cheap look for The Foot Foundation. It is cool stuff.
post #19 of 136
Although I've never taken a Jeannie Thoren workshop, I occaisionally take Women's workshops because they are often cost effective.

Although many issues are gender neutral, there is a point to at least thinking about many of the issues, which in SOME but NOT all cases, are gender specific.

Joint laxity is certainly one of them. Although some men have a problem with this, many, many women have this problem in the extreme. Observe the high amount of medial and lateral knee injuries.

But men can also have these injuries. However, in some cases, it is due to lack of flexibility.

Does the ski instructor have to know all this?
Probably not.
I think in many cases, the student needs to take responsibility for themselves. But once you figure out what works, and does not work for you, you then need to choose the instructors who are on your wavelength, so to speak.

I do this all the time as I read the various posts. An instructor says that they find the "picture frame " exercise with the poles to be a contrived exercise, they go on my hero list. The same as the teacher who says that a recreational intermediate does not have to be so far foward on their. skis that their nose is practically in the snow.

Isn't all about having fun? Or is it about supporting the instructors ego and dogma?
post #20 of 136

Too many people have been brought along, in skiing circles, as well as others, with the perspective that feedback IS negative criticism, put up their dukes and miss out on golden opportunities. Don't throw it all away SCSA!
post #21 of 136
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Bob, how much should I deal with alignment?
Is it my problem as an instructor? <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Hi Zeek--

Good question. Boot alignment issues are difficult for instructors to deal with in the course of a typical lesson. There are some things we can do--trail maps stuffed into boot cuffs, duct tape "canting" strips on the boot soles or bindings, and so on. But these things go beyond the typical lesson, especially group lesson. They may indeed violate the policies of some ski schools that are concerned with the potential liability of "messing" with the boot/binding interface. I'd certainly be very cautious, at least, before doing these things.

On the other hand, it is extremely helpful to the student and to our success as instructors if we can RECOGNIZE potential alignment issues and either suggest solutions or (probably) refer the student to a boot alignment specialist. In this sense, I think that alignment issues are very much "our problem" as instructors.

Joel--please reread my initial post here before you jump on me to "chill out." As I clearly stated, I am in agreement with Mr. Harb's ideas way more often than not, and I respect him as a skier and an instructor. But I can do that without necessarily agreeing with everything he says. And I believe I am justified in objecting to his sweeping generalizations that "Instructors are not getting enough of this information in training" and so on--especially in light of his (correct) complaints about generalizations about students. Many instructors are, in fact, extremely well-trained and extremely skilled and knowledgeable. Many are not. But generalizations are unfair. I object to misinformation and untrue generalizations--sorry.

Why do you take me to task for suggesting that some of Harald's ideas are worth discussing? Is that offensive? While I agree with most of his ideas, there are a few that I do NOT agree with. I present my own ideas, along with supporting argument, and I am willing to discuss them--I'm not attacking Harald. There is no disrespect intended when I disagree him or anyone else. Even as I disagree with some of them, I have a great deal of respect for Harald's ideas, and especially for the attention he has drawn to skiing and instruction because of them.

Much of what Harald Harb has written and taught is not as clear cut and incontrovertible as he has suggested (in my opinion). Much of it is worth discussing. All I'm asking is that he be as willing to discuss his ideas as he is to state them. This is a discussion forum, after all. If his ideas are as absolutely irrefutable as he suggests, they'll have no problem standing up to a little scrutiny. If not, then truth will be served anyway. Either way, we all win.

Discussion is good. Discussion forums like EpicSki are not the place to make statements and assertions without the willingness to discuss them. What do you say, Harald? Is that an unreasonable request? Please realize that I am TRYING to extend an invitation, not a threat, and that I do so with the utmost respect for you as a skier, thinker, instructor, and "motivating force" for evolutionary change.

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #22 of 136
HH's comments and contributions are very welcome and I hope they will continue, but it would be far better to have comments on each of these subjects in the appropriate thread so that they can be read and responded to in the context of the discussions that sparked them. Placing a general summery post that addresses several unrelated discussions is far less valuable to those who read this forum to learn -- most readers will read a thread with a title that reflects a relevant topic, but not some generic post called "Notes from HH". And those who do stumble on it will not have the benefit of the rest of the thread to understand the context. Furthermore, the follow-up is a very fragmented discussion rather than the more specific and useful one (to those trying to learn), and it pulls future posts into this fragmented discussion from the original, relevant thread.

Keep in mind that the vast number of readers of the Instruction Forum are not instructors (this can easily be forgotten since a disproportionate number of those posting are), most just lurk because they are intimidated to enter the dialogue with such a knowledgeable group. A thread like this is of interest mainly to insiders.

Posting in the appropriate thread would also be better for HH as well from a "getting his point across" standpoint, as well as from a marketing standpoint.

post #23 of 136
Thread Starter 

I take all criticism that's how I improve.

But c'mon, look at your post! HH gets discredit as a result. Why do you do this? He's not out there picking on you or anyone else!

As I read it, you go onto to say that basically, PMTS must teach stem movements because a few turns I made for you were stem like -- in your view. Hey. Gimme me those 163 skis you were on Bob! I can make perfect turns all friggin day long! Lets see. You had 163's, I had 180's. That's a big difference, wouldn't you agree?

When we stood there and I said, "I can do that, watch me...", I didn't know I was being graded. If the task was, "Make a perfect parallel turn", sure, I'd have done that. Can I do it every turn in every circumstance? No. Do I push off sometimes? Yes, but I try not to. But, who doesn't?

And, you know where those push off movements came from? From the very first few days I skied with my father 30 freakin years ago - HE TAUGHT ME WEDGE TURNS! 120 days and counting and I still can't break myself of those nasty habits! Now you see my point about teaching skiers "dead end movements"? 120 plus days of training to get myself rid of those nasty movements and they're still not gone! There are thousands of skiers who WILL NEVER break free of those nasty habits! Never break free of movements -- well I can't say they shouldn't have been taught then -- but to teach them now is a sin and bad karma!

Like I said, just don't look at my turns and then make a blanket statement about PMTS to the gang here -- it's not fair. Wanna see a PMTS poster child? It's SnoKarver.

I have followed 100% of what PMTS teaches in my training, no doubt. But I only have 120 some ski days in now. I still have plenty of room for improvement.

Sure. We can do video taping. But lets wait until the whole mountain opens up.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ November 26, 2001 03:46 AM: Message edited 2 times, by SCSA ]</font>
post #24 of 136
Thread Starter 

The "motivated skier" business is getting very competitive and they're all out there, chasing the same customer. So yes, competitors will snip at each other.

I really have no idea about what she's doing other than what I've read or what I've heard from her competitors.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ November 26, 2001 03:39 AM: Message edited 1 time, by SCSA ]</font>
post #25 of 136
Thread Starter 

I took the liberty of making the decision about the post. My decision was to not disguise his writings as "marketing stuff" - hence the low-key title and generic post.

If I get more I'll try to post it where it plugs in best.
post #26 of 136
"If you ask skiers who learn without balance and utilize the wide stance, to lift the inside ski in a turn,ninety percent will fall over."

"Try to stay away from opinions of the quote, "experts" who do the Band-Aid jobs. Do the homework and find information from those who
have done the research collected data and tied themselves to the sciences."

The two quotes are what I have a problem with. In the first, a wild, ninety percent measurement is tossed out. Simply stated, I don't believe the validity of the percentage given. The second quote goes on to talk about research, data, and science.

Can I get an amen?
post #27 of 136
Wow-what a thread! I take 2 days to go skiing, and this happens!

One of the clinic leaders(a woman)was speaking to two of her students(male) after two days of skiing. The topic-their stance. As an instructor she saw that they were getting the knowledge, but not the skill. She saw their alignment problem. All instructors should be aware of this much.(BTW-I emailed the starting post to her).

She took off her boots(inside) and showed her orthodics, and how they worked. Suggested 3 different boot fitters. This is also what every ski instructor should be able to do.

If your teaching isn't working, adjust your teaching style(a new thread-PSIA_E has 4, teaching professionals have 7 listed) because you aren't matching the student's learning style, and examine the equipment/alignment, and face the FEAR factor(still another thread)
post #28 of 136
You Rock, Kee Tov!
And some things are no brainers! Once at the loaf, our instructor {Linda} wanted us to do one of those go straight down without turning so that we would'nt have to climb on the uphill kind of thingies. {WHEW}

I started to do what she told me to, but my skis just stopped! She came up and said "Looks like your skis need a tune up".
She was right! The next day I ripped!

I've been in the same situation, where an instructor just assumed I was doing something incorrect with my form.

SCSA, the Jeannie Thoren workshops and the PMTS should not be in conflict with each other. Sometimes, when providers of education flame each other too much, they lose consumer confidence.
post #29 of 136
The best of all worlds would be if we could get everyone pulling on the same end of the rope. Wouldn't it be nice If Harald Harb and Bob Barnes didn't have this edgy relationship and could each put their ideas on the table for us to see.

And it isn't only BB and HH, there are many of us on either side and the avoidance of hot button words and inflamatory remarks, no matter how they are disguised, could allow the discussions move along with clarity.

Words of the kind like: "Try to stay away from opinions of the quote, "experts" who do the Band-Aid jobs." or whatever, and "What a concept--looking at skiers as individuals! Is that idea patented?" are not needed, though they have merit, but they tend to pierce thin skins.

As an old timer who has gone through many changes in skiing and ski teaching, I belive that it is driven by what the present day equipment, whenever it was, made possible.

There is no way one could ski on ankle high soft leather boots and stiff skis the way one does now or even yesterday. It was not too long ago that no one had even heard of alignment, a fairly recent development.

I think that Harald's idea of having an alignment shop at the base of the hill is great, though it would be a while before area managment would catch onto the idea, it's still worthwhile, and that instructors trained in recognizing an alignment problem could be helpful to the student.

It also opens up the opportunity of a SCAM, where instructors would get kickbacks for sending students to be aligned and thus give the instructors an incentive to send in folks who don't need alignment at their stage of skiing.

I also think that EVERY serious skier should be aligned, we all need it to some extent, though the occasional skier may not need to spend a couple hundred bucks if alignment and foot beds would not make much difference at their skill level.

Anyway, I have Harb's first book and it is well organized as are the PSIA's new manuals, lets have rational discussions on teaching the different levels of skill in skiers.

Sorry for the long post... ...Ott
post #30 of 136

You gotta love it!

It is all good, and it is all there for you and the other students of this sport to observe, study, attempt, absorb what is good and useful and get on with Life, I mean SKIING!

Bob, SCSA, HH the rest of you, admit it, there are peices of this and that which we all use each and everyday to get the job done. This is ALL healthy. Without the point of view of east or west there may not be a horizon? PMTS or PSIA we need both. If one were to not exsist we would all be the lesser for it.

The individual is the answer, however there is an unfortunate issue of class size and of affiliation. Class size may give an instructor the challenge of having different learning types in one group. At line up there is or should be an attempt to get this alighend as best as possible. Personlay I would look at body types and at WHY they are taking a lesson in the first place. These are some of the issue as to who goes with who in a class. Secondly the afiliation. PSIA is going to clinic and train the instructor to teach their method. This is good as we talked about before fo the paying guest to get what they paid for. However and we have looked at this also, the instructor must be clinic savy, up to date and it may not be a bad idea IF they had been to a few CHURCHES before they begin to PREACH. So by that I am saying the instructor MUST be a student first, and keep an open mind. (ARE YOU ALL STILL WITH ME HERE?)

The individual STUDENT (instructor / student) must use their availabe skill and experience to get the job done, to answer the question or attain the skill which they are there for.

Wide, Narrow, Pivot, Rotate, steer, slide or SKID or even HOP all have a place, it is HOW it is used and where. It is what the STUDENT WILL be able to preform or absorb or even hear at that time. (some can not relate to a bunch of TECHNO JIBBERISH, they wnat to SKI)

A full skill set is necissary to SKI. (and teach)

We pride ourselves in that we can get the student to PARALLEL in the first lesson. Great, that is probably a good goal. In that the skier hopefuly enjoys the sport more now and will remain in the sport, and enjoy. ENJOY is the key word, as some like you and I, may not be satisfied with just one bite and want to know MORE. (is it the equipment, the student or the instructor?)

There are some that would argue that we do no one a service by filling their heads with false sense of security by telling them that they are parallel skiers the first day. Next thing you see is some poor guy or gal up on a Double Diamond sliding down with their skis in their arms. (at least the practical ones, some get carried off) There are many more skills needed to really SKI, this will take time, miles and desire.

But this again reflects back to the main thrust of MY rant here. IT IS UP TO THE INDIVIDUAL. SO as an instructor and student of this sport, you must share the skills and or the process which will best suit that INDIVIDUAL at that time and place.

A wise man once said "The best way to learn is to ASK questions." This Question theory is just what we are talking about, the student asks, (because they are an individual) and the instructor must have the mentality to respond. Respond calm and reasonable, Respond in a number of different ways and methods as the opportunity dictate. (the student may ask in several ways, action or words, watch them carefuly and learn their question)

SO it is ALL GOOD. Because we may need this tool today or that tool tomorrow.
HH has good points, so does others points of view. Take them all in, use what is GOOD and put the rest aside. (do not get rid of it, it may be useful in another situation) In other words I would not cast off anothers DOGMA as it is not of my stripe, one should hear it feel it experience it and choose the right application for the situation. THAT IS SKILL!


(tears - quivering chin)

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ November 26, 2001 07:23 AM: Message edited 1 time, by Dr.GO ]</font>
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Ski Instruction & Coaching