Why teaching the wedge doesn't work

PMTS Forum

Jclayton - here are the links

Postby John Mason » Wed Sep 29, 2004 9:00 pm

jclayton wrote:That thread on Epic should be prescribed for insomniacs . I thought you were supposed to turn with your feet not your intellect . The language was well handled but even more soporific than a dictionary .

What is the connection for the Demo Team videos ?


Here is the link to the overall site - realskiers links there in fact.

http://www.skinastc.com/

Here are the links to the videos

http://www.skinastc.com/m4_s1.html

Note the reference to the link and passord required to go to the videos from there.
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Postby Ott Gangl » Thu Sep 30, 2004 5:00 am

John, thats a great explanation. In that turn the skier really doesn't step onto the LTE of the uphill ski, he only goes from predominately outside weighted ski through evenly weighted skis to weighting the inside ski while still at the end of that turn, just in order to use the now unweighted outside ski to tip it downhill. Makes sense. Thanks John.

As for high caliber skiers, there are literally hundreds of them in the western mountains, both know and unknown. I've skied with former and recent D-team members like Victor Gerdin and Charlie McArthur and watched Gootz Getzinger and the Mahre Brothers and have ridden the Pali chair at A-Basin and seen many skiers never lose a beat while skiing that with easy. I wont even mention Europe.

What Harald Harb and Bob Barnes have in common is a superior understanding of technique. HH has divised a simpler to understand TEACHING system while BB's book is simply an encyclopedia which explains the meaning of most ski terms in the language and more. It is NOT a step by step instructional book, but instructors and now the general skiing public can look up specific words and terms and get an explanation of their meaning.

HH can ski anything in any style, yes even the gliding wedge which was part of the school figures when he was a D-team member, narrow or wide stance, up or down unweighting or none of those, the point is not how he skis but what he teaches through PMTS which caters to serious skiers not the once a lifetime lesson takers on rental equipment. And as he tells me he is quite successful in that and that is great.

BB can ski anything in any style, etc. etc. Eric Deslaurier who coaches at the EpicSki Academy can ski anything in any style.etc. etc. and so on and so on.

When free skiing BB like most good skiers ski with four to six inches between their skis, call that narrow or call that wide, it is what is comfortable for those skiers and those stances just happen, they are not enforced. It is when TEACHING that the ideologies diverge.

Will one or the other prevail? Maybe. But most likely they will drift toward each other and direct parallel will become more prevelant just because it is more possible now.

Fifty years ago at Jay Peak in Vermont Walter Foeger developed direct to parallel and called it Natur Teknik (sp?) and Cliff Taylor at that time also developed his Graduated Length Method which was a direct parallel teaching system using short skis to start with and increasing the length as the skier progressed.

They all were using the existing skis or special skis in GLM but both were eventually outdated by development in skis and boots and in technique.

.....Ott
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Postby Eddy » Thu Sep 30, 2004 12:10 pm

John, you are indeed friendly and it seems trying to mend the rift between the personalities and ideologies on different forums. I don?t like to be too involved in these discussions. I read the forum for Harald?s information. I have followed his career since his coaching days; he is a rare and creative technical innovator. His approaches have changed old theories and developed many of the new techniques racers and coaches use today. At times there are comments made in the threads on this PMTS forum that are just too far off the wall, to refrain from commenting. This is one of those situations.

Be certain, my comments that BB doesn?t ski in the same league as Harald is not disparaging to BB. As most ski instructors are mediocre skiers at best, BB might be better than the average, but that doesn?t put him in the same league with Harald.

As far as the uphill weighting of the little toe edge, if you ski in a wide stance, which as Harald states, prohibits proper balance on the pressured ski, you will not achieve a release that results in Cg movement from energy stored from the turn. Until you are able to generate forces that move your Cg without assistance from extension of either leg, you will not feel, as you observed, the momentary pressuring of the little toe edge at the release and its building through transition. The little toe edge pressure I am referring to (S-Phantom) establishes stance and big toe edge balance (through transition) for the next turn.

Typically instructors (and intermediate skiers) push their Cg from turn to turn. The PSIA have preached this for decades, (move or push you Center of Mass into the next turn), typical PSIA verbiage.
Harald has never taught this approach and doesn?t believe it is necessary. His PMTS system develops balance and ski use, as we all know. With PMTS methods, Cg never has to be pushed anywhere, energy and gravity do the work.

These concepts are difficult to feel if you use a wide stance and pressure both skis equally in that stance. I observe this defensive skiing in the majority of instructors on the slopes. Isn?t it WW, who said, They are like golf carts, they all look the same and they all go slow?.
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Postby Ott Gangl » Thu Sep 30, 2004 2:42 pm

>>>Be certain, my comments that BB doesn?t ski in the same league as Harald is not disparaging to BB. As most ski instructors are mediocre skiers at best, BB might be better than the average, but that doesn?t put him in the same league with Harald.<<<

So you know how Bob Barnes skis? He skied with Harald and there wasn't anything disparaging between the two, they both ski great, and, BTW, are great technicians. Barnes probaly has as many disagreements with PSIA as HH does. My sincerest wish is that the two would get together and pull on the same end of the rope to benefiit the skiers. It may happen in the future because such minds that have deep knowledge of skiing technique shouldn't opose each other.

I don't know if you know this, but PSIA is only an umbrella organization that certifies instructors' skills from rudimentary to expert. When I got certified a zillion years ago and consequently went to workshops the PSIA examiners were only concerned that I knew what I was doing and put the students' need paramount. Once I got on the hill with students I was free to teach them skiing. Often when a student showed aptitude I would skip over one or several 'steps' and go right into it as far as the student could go. When he faltered I would back up a step. No one told me that I had to follow a prescribed step-by-step order, basically, just teach them how to ski, it isn't rocket science after all.

Oh, BTW, what leage is Harald in?


....Ott
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there are a lot of similarities but key differences too

Postby John Mason » Thu Sep 30, 2004 3:23 pm

BB actually describes a two footed release style of turn in his "perfect turn" treatise on epic. This is not to say BB believes anything like a perfect turn exists on a philosophical basis. But, like HH, BB believes a good turn is efficient and uses gravity to create the turn.

But, since BB seems not to understand the early weight shift turn (I'm trying to figure out on the other forum if this is really the case or just mis-communication), then the BB style of "perfect turn" misses most of the leverage created by the SP to propell the CM into the new turn.

If you don't engage the LTE of the upper ski just as you start the release, there is no carving action or fulcrum for the body to crisply move across the skis. If you only flatten then tip the down hill ski as in Bob's perfect turn with the other leg passively following, the body will loose its vertical support and sink towards the hill. The ultimate engagement on the new down hill ski will occur much later in the turn. Since the new stance ski cannot carve in the abscence of pressure you will have to pivot or actively steer the turn to compensate.

In other words when you release the stance ski (downhill ski) at the end of the turn when you want to get your new turn going, if you just release and tip that ski alone without also consciously standing on your LTE of your inside foot, the inside leg of your old turn will not support the downward pull of gravity. To prevent this, the sp style turn engages the LTE of the new stance foot which makes it carve, creates a fulcrum (think pole vaulting if you like) for the body to cross over into the new turn. By the time the new body position is over the skis into the new turn, the stance ski is already fully weighted and will jump the carving from LTE to BTE without any wandering flat stage. Without that fulcrum point, the new stance leg (uphill ski at this point), will only get pressure built on it much later in the turn after being forcible pivoted to even partcipate in the turn. So when BB leaves this out of his perfect turn description, he is describing a very meandering type of turn that squanders the energy of the rebound of the skis.

Eddie makes the point that in a wide stance, a person will never see this move as anything as a step uphill which makes me wonder why BB thinks this is negative move. In a wide stance it certainly will be. But Ott says BB has a 4 to 6 inch stance at transition which should work fine with this.

The other big difference, of course, is that in BB's perfect turn he has leg steering compenents throughout (tip and point the inside leg to the new turn, and use leg steering to shape the turn). So, perhaps while gravity and efficiency is there in some part in Bob's turn description, a lot of that efficiency is missing by his implementation and ideas of a perfect turn.

As HH has said, he does the move to the LTE of the new stance ski in all his turns without even thinking. This is the bread and butter turn of the PMTS style skier. For BB to think this type of move is completly invalid in skiing and should not be done is quite a difference of opinion.

Ott says they both ski the same on the hill. Eddie says they don't. Given the above I don't see how they could look the same when they ski. (unless BB skis different than his own description - I've seen that before)
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Postby Ott Gangl » Thu Sep 30, 2004 4:59 pm

John, given some leeway for style, all top skiers and all racers look alike doing the same turns...

...Ott
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I hope that's what it is Ott

Postby John Mason » Thu Sep 30, 2004 5:17 pm

So far though, on Epic, even with very full and complete descriptions of this style of turn, most are insisting its a turn full of negative movements.

But, I hope it's a semantical misunderstanding.

-or- it could be the skier and the message are in a state of dis-connect.
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Postby Ott Gangl » Thu Sep 30, 2004 7:28 pm

OK John, snow is not far away, just show us the turn and we'll do it and asses it then. I wouldn't mind adding another turn initiation to the many I have now, but I wont obsess over an early carve in the turn, I'd rather just introduce the carve gently when I need the extra edge hold. My personal style is NOT to use more than a minimum edge to hold me on the terrain and get me to where I'm going. So what if people don't want to use that turn initiation you suggested, let them use whatever they want.

Your suggested racing style seems to me like work rather than play, unless you are in a race course, naturally. And at my age I just want to play.

......Ott
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Postby mechanic » Thu Sep 30, 2004 7:31 pm

Got to ask these questions. 1. Eddy, have you ever seen bb ski? 2, John, could it possibly be that you are the skier and message in disconnect?

m
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Ott - I think you got this already

Postby John Mason » Thu Sep 30, 2004 8:57 pm

Ott you described it correctly and improved on my description. So I'm sure you wouldn't be learning a new turn style, you can show me it's perfection in execution!

Mechanic - sure. It could be. Wonder of wonders, rusty guy and I actually seem to agree on this turn, that it's ok. It seems his use of the word weight (and others like Lito) makes him think (and probably others) think Center of Mass. So if that's a translation, of course people will disagree. When lito has his whole discourse on early weight shift, he is really talking about shifting pressures from the down hill ski to the uphill ski. The "weight" or "CM" as some are hearing it, continues smoothly down the hill.

Of course, that's always the problem with terminogy and forums and discusing skiing. People don't picture the same things with the same words in describing skiing movements.

I know Eski uses this turn as a foundation to his all mountain skiing methods and he is a bear coach. So this move is not unique. That's why I always wondered why this same turn in super phantom form was always talked against by some on Epic. Turns out they most likely were not interpeting the verbal description of the turn in the same way HH meant it. We can hope anyway.
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Now that's the epitome of no negative movements

Postby John Mason » Thu Sep 30, 2004 9:09 pm

Ott Gangl wrote:OK John, snow is not far away, just show us the turn and we'll do it and asses it then. I wouldn't mind adding another turn initiation to the many I have now, but I wont obsess over an early carve in the turn, I'd rather just introduce the carve gently when I need the extra edge hold. My personal style is NOT to use more than a minimum edge to hold me on the terrain and get me to where I'm going. So what if people don't want to use that turn initiation you suggested, let them use whatever they want.

Your suggested racing style seems to me like work rather than play, unless you are in a race course, naturally. And at my age I just want to play.

......Ott


Sounds like you are a veritable drop of water sliding down the fall line, with some pivot slips for speed control.

That's fine. Skiing is about fun.

It's a fun play turn. I find it efficient at well. The problem with sliding or drifting your way down the mountain for me, is that a ski sliding sideways wants to trip me up when the skis go sideways over bumps and ruts in the snow. With a good surface fine. But on most real surfaces, I like to keep my skis going in their own path rather than letting them drift sideways.

But, at the cornice at mammoth at the very top, I found a skidding ski a great virtue. I do not know when I'll want to just carve all that at that steepness.

Even when skiding up on the cornice, I still used the phantom move to initiate my turns. (but I certainly didn't carve that :roll: )
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Postby Ott Gangl » Fri Oct 01, 2004 6:16 am

>>>>Sounds like you are a veritable drop of water sliding down the fall line, with some pivot slips for speed control.<<<<

Not quite, John :) . If you get hung up you are not doing it right. It's like drifting your car around the corner, fun, but if done wrong you end up in the wall...

Soon we'll be skiing and then all that talk wont mean much...

....Ott
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Postby piggyslayer » Fri Oct 01, 2004 6:29 am

I have been thinking about wedge and got some observations that may not be 100% relevant to this thread, but maybe people find it interesting. For some reason I got intrigued by these observations.

I have asked myself a question: Can wedge be misdiagnosed on a skier. I am sure that the answer is NO if experienced coach is involved, but we all look at other skiers, maybe our friends we ski with, and sometimes make just or unjust opinions about their technique.

My answer to this is: YES it can be misdiagnosed. Here is why I think that:

Wedge for me is the infamous ski technique/instruction method, is a part of some ?wedge based? techniques such as stem christie, as well as bad habit that became rooted in parallel turns made by so many skiers.
Wedge is not just the fact that skis converge a bit and tips are closer than tails.

Let me elaborate:
(1) I you lift you free foot and tip in to LTE and your fore-aft balance is fore, and on top of this you lean into the turn enough so that the free foot is close to the ground where would the ski tips be and where would the tails be? It would look like a pizza to untrained eye, would it not?
(2) If you coming back from a deep carve where the legs have separated a bit and you want to regain narrow stance (yes I do know about difference between horizontal vs. vertical separation) your skis will need to converge a bit, so you may look like an A-framed pizza man/woman.
(3) I wrote a separate post about it, and I am not sure what to think about it, but sometimes aggressive LTE tipping during turn transition creates this ?wedged? look.
(4) I am sure we find more if we think about it.

My point if you see wedge, in the sense of ski tips converging, you may not be seeing remains of snowplough turn, it maybe something completely different and not necessary bad.

It seems to me, the rule of thumb is: if LTE > BTE it is NOT a wedge, if BTE or both flat skis it most likely is.

Would everyone agree with me on this?
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Postby Ott Gangl » Fri Oct 01, 2004 11:55 am

That's right, piggyslayer. Just because the tails of the skis are sometimes farther apart than the tips, it is not a wedge. To be a true wedge, both skis have to be on the inside edges and have some weight on it. It is what HH desribes to be used in the lift lines. What you described above are just converging tips.

And when I get real tired, which in my advanced age comes sooner in the day, I go from simultanious (dynamic) edge change to sequential edge change and then a stem or wedge slips in momentarily. It happens because I change edges on the new turning ski before I let go with the old one and it looks kind of one-two real fast. In order to do this you have to separate your stance somewhat and what it usually end up being is that the tails separate more than the tips, looking like a wedge.

So what, it doesn't effect my turning at all.

....Ott
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wedges happen

Postby John Mason » Fri Oct 01, 2004 12:50 pm

yep - piggyslayer - like the momentary wedge that appears in HH's skiing in his 2nd video at the beginning of the two footed release. An inadvertent wedge really doesn't have any bearing on the other wedge discussion of purposely using a wedge as a progression.

Interestingly, even though most wedge training I've seen on the hill is the bad kind with a focus on steming and lower leg turning action, I had never considered that you can turn in the context of a wedge by tipping the inside foot while shifting balance to the outside foot. This type of wedge progression is what many are defending in saying they see no problem with the wedge as a progression.

This is quite different than the "traditional" wedge progression that we mostly bash hear on this side of the fence.

This style of training still starts to ingrain a wide stance and puts off the day of learning balance. It, also, more often then not, is progressed to a 2 footed style of skiing rather than 1 footed.

What I found funny on Epic was how quickly people would use the inadvertant wedge that sometimes happens as an argument against HH's stand against the wedge as a training progression. Of course, that's not relevant to the discussion.

Yes - Ott - I'm getting real anxious now that the temp is cooler. (like I used to feel about spring and getting the motorcycle out. I used to dread winter. now it's just the oppisite.)

When does Holiday Valley typically open? I'm getting rid of my 211,000 mile sedan and getting a small suv. See how skiing has messed up my life. Next thing you know, I'll just quit my job and become a ski bum.
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