Why teaching the wedge doesn't work

PMTS Forum

Query

Postby A Guest » Fri Sep 24, 2004 5:40 pm

You are clearly a reasonably intelligent guy who clearly loves skiing. Ski instructors work for ski schools. Ski schools are run by resorts. Instructors like to make money. Ski schools like to make margin.

Answer four questions sir.

1.Why do you think there is only one tiny ski school at a very minor resort that has endorsed PMTS?

2. Let's guess there are one or two hundred PMTS certs out there. Again, the basic premis is that instructors want to make money. Give a good product the word spreads and you give more lessons. Why aren't instructors lined up to learn about PMTS?

3. Isn't it a bit of a concern?



You answer first and I'll check back in a few days and give my thoughts.
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Missed the walking speed component

Postby John Mason » Fri Sep 24, 2004 5:56 pm

Ott Gangl wrote:John, when skiing mashed potatos at walking speed you either stem or do paddle turns (divergent stepping) to change direction. Putting your skis on edge will just make you fall over.

...Ott


Missed the walking speed part of mashed potatos. You could do slow railroad turns, but if you need more change in angle, obviously a carve type turn of any kind won't have the needed radius.
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Re: Query

Postby John Mason » Fri Sep 24, 2004 6:41 pm

A Guest wrote:You are clearly a reasonably intelligent guy who clearly loves skiing. Ski instructors work for ski schools. Ski schools are run by resorts. Instructors like to make money. Ski schools like to make margin.


Thanks.

A Guest wrote:

Answer four questions sir.

1.Why do you think there is only one tiny ski school at a very minor resort that has endorsed PMTS?


a. 1st I believe there are 2 in this country, not one. That's an excellent question. Inertia and Dogma are the reason I believe.

b. Speculations on other reasons are that PMTS has a cost associated with it to participate fully in the program, but I do not know if that is true or a factor or not.

c. The resorts are all about volume. This view is probably not in their best interest in terms of profit, but a short view of profit it is. It is easier to pop a bunch of kids in a class and throw them down the hill in a wedge then cut them loose on greens. They'll survive. Their skiing will be limited. This looks like a good plan for short-term profits. Not so good a plan for building the next generation of ski population.

d. PMTS works best with a proper alignment (as does skiing in general). Students in this mass environment are not going to pay the cost of a proper alignment. The wedge progression works without a proper alignment. They won't be "skiing" per se - but they'll get down the hill safely. I in prior threads have lamented that some smart binding manufacturer has not come up with the idea for universal alignment in the binding. By doing this, with a proper measurement machine, students could be quickly aligned at low cost since the boots will not have to be custom ground, etc. PMTS still works without alignment, but any method that stresses development of balance to improve skiing alignment is critical for the majority of the population. Only a minority can get by with no alignment. (my brother in law, in fact, was/is blessed with neutral alignment out of the chute - I'm very jealous) (see Witherell - the Athletic Skier - this is an old principle (though he liked a little big toe engagement bias built into his alignment that HH probably doesn't agree with)


A Guest wrote:
2. Let's guess there are one or two hundred PMTS certs out there. Again, the basic premis is that instructors want to make money. Give a good product the word spreads and you give more lessons. Why aren't instructors lined up to learn about PMTS?


a. Obvious answer, because resorts do not pay or care if you are PMTS certified. Thus there is no reimbursement or requirement for the training. ('cept for the 2 resorts in the US whose ski schools are based on PMTS)

b. Actually, lots of PSIA coaches go to PMTS instructor camps just to expand their choices of what to teach. The base of PMTS trained or aware ski instructors goes way beyond the actual count of PMTS certified instructors.

c. The best PSIA instructors already use or are aware of PMTS movement patterns because these movement patterns were common for years in the racing side of ski instruction. It's almost like there were 2 camps: the race side and approach to skiing and the resort ski school side and approach to skiing. From my 3rd party view and owning a library of ski books from many points of view, it appears to me that what PMTS has been trying to do is to bring racing movement patterns to general instruction since the shaped skis opened the door for beginners to experience a carved turn with little pressure needed to reverse camber the ski. (in deference to Ott whose friend's wooden barrel skis also require no pressure to be in reverse camber (or do they - which side do they tie onto their feet? :lol: ))

d. Ski instructors are able to incorporated PMTS into their lessons by simply buying the books and/or the videos and trying things out themselves, then adapting things for their own use with their students.

Bottom line, the number of people at the instructor camp or the smaller number actually getting PMTS certification does not reflect on the scope and breadth of people becoming aware of the PMTS progression and using it in their teaching.

A Guest wrote:
3. Isn't it a bit of a concern?


I doubt it. Compare what HH has done with PMTS vs what PSIA has done with their level 1-8 progression. HH sells books and videos you can pick up anywhere. Eric and Rob's book draws on PMTS extensively (their appendix is a copy) and HH gets no royalties, but he doesn't care, they acknowledge HH in the forward and that's all he is looking for. All of HH's stuff is geared for the student or instructor to coach and teach themselves with the progressive drills spelled out in detail (especially the instructor manual). PSIA on the other hand locks up their info. I have tried to see the level 1-8 progression with detail - like a teacher's or student manual spelled out and it appears to not be publicly available. If I'm wrong, please let me know, because I have about 20 different ski technique and instruction books and I can't find anything other than web references (some pretty good) for PSIA progression 1-8.

So, while HH is open to spreading the PMTS gospel of how to ski, PSIA keeps it all locked up with its priests so that people must go to a priest for instruction. Given this approach and openness of HH and what he did with PMTS vs what PSIA has done with their progression historically, I don't think Harold minds at all that his PMTS ski instructor clinics don't have to be lined up for PMTS information to be well disseminated throughout the instructor community.

Back to your opening paragraph

A Guest wrote:Ski instructors work for ski schools. Ski schools are run by resorts. Instructors like to make money. Ski schools like to make margin.


This is an interesting conundrum. Once a ski instructor has learned PMTS either on their own or in a PMTS certified capability, the ski resorts by fiat usually do not allow them to teach it. I ran into this personally as I tried to find a PMTS lesson when I went back to Breckenridge in my 2nd month of skiing. If it is a group lesson they must follow the resort approved progression. Of course, this is no doubt required just to get liability insurance. But, even though PSIA has "opened up" a bit (more on that in a minute) and allows flexibility in what PSIA cert instructors teach, the resorts out of business incentive and fear of lawyers restrict and enforce the curriculum. You can get PMTS taught at the major resorts, but you normally have to get the correct instructor and then tell them that's what you want and not be in a group.

This structural resistance on the part of the resorts is indeed a problem. It's too bad too, since a good DTP method would surely help their bottom line. (or would it - if students have a shorter progression to parallel and comfort on blues where most people stop anyway (10 day a year skiers for example) maybe the resorts don't want a more effective system) I still think the bottom line would be better because of the abysmal retention rates of the current methodology.

Now, even though PSIA has opened up what people can teach (this is only what PSIA people tell me, I'm not in PSIA so I'm repeating what I've heard), their certification process is not changed and the test requirements are still focused on rotary actions that mirror the PSIA level 1-8 progression (that's not speculation because the test requirements are in the public domain on the web in PDF form).

So, the structure of the certification test with their reliance on rotary, and the dogmatic structure of what can be taught at the large ski schools puts a lot of inertia into the ski teaching profession for a superior product to be adopted.

But, that doesn't mean it still isn't being adopted. From my discussions with some PSIA folks high up, Rocky Mountain division is the most backwards (or entrenched) with NW and Central being much more progressive and actually effecting change. Once again, respecting the comments to stay out of the ski instructor world and let them discuss it, these are just my impressions as I'm not in PMTS or PSIA and am just a little 75 day under my belt still 1.5 year skier from the flat lands of Indiana.

I like open and honest discussion. Those were good questions.

I look forward to your reply (go ahead and login - why use "a guest" - how will I know who to look up and ski with in my travels that way!)

(edited for spelling)
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Postby NNN » Sat Sep 25, 2004 7:45 am

Harald: I understand there is much more out there. I have read many of the articles on your website. I became a bit frustrated after numerous calls to your phone number trying to schedule an alignment appointment in Downieville. I sent several emails requesting information regarding your Copper Mountain camp last year and never received a reply.
I don't think you should make any comments about my skiing because you simply don't know.

I think you have great products that appear to work very well. Do yourself a favor and respond to people with inquiries so that customers don't go elsewhere.
NNN
 

Postby Harald » Sat Sep 25, 2004 8:58 am

NNN, since I don?t know your name, I can?t comment about your attempts to contact us, as we seem to be able to communicate with everyone who calls and leaves a message. We fill our camps early, in August, especially the one at Copper in December. Last season we were in Canada in September and part of October and it is possible to your message came in while we were away and our machine was full.

I can comment on skiers, even if I have not seen them ski, based on the system they learned. I have taught thousands of skiers undoing their movements learned from traditional systems over the years and they all were restricted by the system?s inefficiency. If you are truly a product of the wedge progression then you have an order of movement in your skiing that will always restrict you from becoming an expert skier. Not that that is your goal.

I?m only saying that you are working harder then you need to regardless of the level or slope you are skiing. This is not subtle; I can see it from miles away it?s like a flashing light. I converted a whole ski school from these movements back in the nineties; they didn?t realize their own inefficiencies. It?s similar to driving the same car for years that you think is just great until you get into the newer version and find out how much better it really drives. Look I?m not trying to sell you lessons, I don?t need to, if you have a motivation to get better, I?m only trying to save you frustration in long haul.
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Postby Harald » Sat Sep 25, 2004 9:36 am

Sorry about your name Ott, I though it was short for Otto, forgive my misunderstanding.

I don?t have a problem with any ski instructor using PMTS material in teaching and helping skiers. In fact, we sell the Manual to any and all instructors.

I have a big problem when an organization with lower standards, plagiarizes information from PMTS Instructor Manuals and uses PMTS excerpts (which I can trace to PMTS manuals) in their materials and in their manuals and resells it. There is a big difference between the two.

PSIA first doesn?t understand PMTS skiing and second it will and already uses PMTS pieces incorrectly, which misrepresents PMTS and the outcome of PMTS methodology. They use PMTS pieces as patches for their failing system. PMTS methodology doesn?t work as a patch. It would be like trying to put a Porsche fuel injection system into a Yugo.

I caution PSIA instructors about trying to teach a release with the Phantom Move and then continue to use their terminology such as having the student steer the legs to create the new turn. This is a convoluted approach that does improve PSIA turn transition, but won?t develop a PMTS turn.

Teaching systems can be protected by copyright and patent. There is a case in California, where Grail Sports invented a new teaching system for tennis (different then the USTA) and the system is patented and is protected by patent laws. PMTS is copyrighted and clearly is different from anything PSIA had in their manuals and certification materials, up to and until PMTS or ?Anyone can be an Expert Skier? publications appeared.

The first time any references where made to movements of tipping the skis and releasing by tipping skis or Direct parallel, was after ?Anyone can be an Expert Skier? books and PMTS manuals were published.

Ott, you seem to think this is about getting credit and proper recognition. Anyone who thinks that way doesn?t see the bigger picture. PSIA doesn?t have an accreditation system that benefits their organization. It is for that reason I am protective of PMTS. I know that if PSIA did PMTS accreditation, it would be a disaster.

This is business; I don?t see Microsoft offering their systems to Apple or vice versa. I invested a great deal of resources and effort to write, publish and prove that PMTS is a superior, stand alone system. Why would I give it to the PSIA organization? I offered it to them when I was on the Demo team. But the egos of the bunch, couldn?t accept the fact that an outsider from the racing world came up with new materials and would get credit for a superior system then theirs.

I know I am protected in my business because PSIA doesn?t have the conviction to produce quality ski instruction. Ski Schools could do it, if they have a ski school director with a vision to set new standards. There are few who have this vision right now in the industry. Everything has turned into cow herding, get them through the system and then after that they should fend for themselves. Our skiers keep returning to our camps because they see the progress and want to become even better skiers. The return rates in regular ski schools are abysmal.
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Postby Ott Gangl » Sat Sep 25, 2004 10:02 am

I wish you luck, Harald, you have an uphill fight...despite BetaMax being the better machine and standard, VHS won out because not only was it cheaper but more available...you need to make your system more available...

...Ott
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Postby Harald » Sat Sep 25, 2004 11:05 am

Ott, Thanks for the encouragement, but I am already feel successful, lucky and happy. We have thousands of loyal and happy customers who ski with us every year. Our books and videos are still number one selling and I am coming out with a new boot this summer. The base is growing fast, increasing every year, which means people who really care about skiing better are finding us.

I also am still coaching athletes in the US Ski Team system and we are having great success with our system, boot modifications, footbeds and alignment with the best skiers in the country. The only thing that?s a challenge for us now is qualifying more top level ski instructors. This is also in the works. You will see in the next year, Harb Skier Centers in the Pacific North west, in the east and in Europe.

It may not be obvious to you or those with limited understanding of our scope, but we are already world wide. We have one camp this year at Sol Vista, Colorado, that has eleven skiers, all from other continents, including Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and England.
Harald
 

Question

Postby A Guest » Sat Sep 25, 2004 12:56 pm

Mr Harb,

How many certified PMTS instructors exist?

How many green, blue and black certifications have you made?
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Postby jclayton » Sat Sep 25, 2004 3:10 pm

Harald ,
you have a convert over here in Spain as well but I missed out on camps for this season . I have sent E-mails regarding private lessons and alignment , just making sure I haven't sent them to the wrong addresses . Obviously I need to organise things quickly .

Just as a matter of interest , how many of your detractors take you up on your offers of skiing with them . Skiing is one of the few sports where you can still use quite outmoded techique but still mantain a smug satisfaction in your own ability .

I`m trying to think of any other sport which uses outmoded technique to start learners off and then have them "unlearn" it later . As an educator it is simply ridiculous .
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Postby Harald » Sun Sep 26, 2004 11:05 am

Jclayton, my detractors are sniveling cowards who hide behind a computer trying to make disparaging remarks about me personally and my PMTS system. I laugh, when I see their posts, because they can?t back up anything they say. I don?t know most of them, as they don?t come up to me and tell me how they feel to my face and they surely are not going to challenge me on the ski slopes.

I developed a low opinion for those types of ski instructors when I was very young. It must have come from my father and the crowd he ran with. My father was an Austrian skiing pioneer. As a young boy, he was invited to ski with Hannis Schneider, because he showed promise as a skier, ski jumper and cross country racer. He was one of the youngest Tyrolean instructors ever certified. This was before Austrian ski instructor certification even existed. He won many big ski races in Austria and competed for Austrian in those days, all over Europe.

When we moved to America, he often commented on how some ski instructors mostly talked a big game, but could do little on snow with their skiing to back it up. When ever it was time to ski hard on difficult slopes this type of ski instructor wouldn?t ski with my father. They talked a big game and that?s what set him off. In general, I found the same to be true when I used to read skiing technique threads on other forums. Lots of smart talk about this and that, but when it came time to ski, you never saw those people doing anything but cruising around on the Blue slopes trying to look pretty.

It?s all academic anyway, because the ski instructors, who can ski, don?t talk or write trash. I know some of the current demo team members and of course previous team members. They know that the movements that are in the traditional skiing manuals are not the ones they use when they are really skiing. They agree by enlarge with PMTS concepts and principles. Look at the well known skiers who have adopted PMTS. I?m talking about skiers not computer jockeys.

I don?t have disagreements with the top skiers and they don?t have problems with my system, they are using it. They don?t ski with the techniques in the traditional manuals. The instructors who want to pick on PMTS are the ones who haven?t achieved a perfect wedge Christie yet, and still need to practice it until they finally get it. I see them crawling around on the green slopes, with their butts hanging low, and their skis two feet apart, pivoting their turns at five miles per hour. They are practicing and engraining what their students want to leave behind.
Harald
 

Postby jclayton » Sun Sep 26, 2004 12:29 pm

Harald,
complacency , self - delusion and pretetentiousness are human charateristics all too common and all too difficult to overcome . I think Ott is perhaps a bit too pessimistic , I think you have already achieved more than most would have so far .

Back to my original post , I would like alignment for a freind and perhaps private classes as we have missed camps . How is your schedule Jan and Feb . Did you get my E-mails ? I am having a few hiccups with my system , think I should employ SCSA , he sounds like a whizz with this kind of stuff .

Jeremy
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My Question

Postby A Guest » Sun Sep 26, 2004 1:53 pm

Mr Harb,

You avoided answering my question.

How many? Is it 30, 40, 50?

Ski instructors want to make money. Why don't more get certified? If it is so very good why aren't instructors busting down your door. Let's pick one "major" resort. You pick it. Vail, Breck,Aspen,Copper.

How many. Speak the truth.

Now you want to talk about technique. Need we name a few of your green certs?
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Postby jclayton » Sun Sep 26, 2004 3:26 pm

This guest guy is not very bright , I think it's about time he got a life .
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A guest - brain time break

Postby John Mason » Sun Sep 26, 2004 3:53 pm

A guest - you said you'd take a few days to read my response. I gave you lots of reasons immediately. You've never replied. I feel hurt.

Do you wonder - A guest - at the number of "independent of" PSIA camps that are springing up?

John Clendenon's camps - Lito's camps - Harold's camps - X-clinics. The failure of the traditional ski schools open the market for these elite camps. These camps specialize in taking terminal intermediates and getting their skiing to the next level.

These camps teach different movement patterns than PSIA endorses but teach the same movement patterns HH teaches. PMTS opens these movement patterns for beginners.

Are you familar with the differences? Can you discuss them? Can you demonstrate them on the hill?

If not, bug out. The number of certs has no bearing on the number of skiers adopting PMTS technique and you know it.

Would it be nice if the PSIA would change its progression and it's test standards that are so bogged down in rotary movements? Yes, it'd be great. Is it gonna happen? I doubt it. "A guest" is a prime example of the mindset and reasons why the new skiing developments will come in spite of PSIA rather than because of it. But that's the very nature of entrenced beuracracies isn't it?

P.S. Rusty Guy - you asked this question a year ago and got lots of answers on epic. You seem to think PMTS leads to terminal intermediates and go ape at the mention of the stance foot. You should really go to the instructor camp and get a clue. Eldora can do without you for a few days.
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