What does it take to become an expert skier?

PMTS Forum

What does it take to become an expert skier?

Postby HeluvaSkier » Fri Feb 18, 2011 10:08 am

h.harb wrote:Max501, JBotti, Helluvaskier, and others like RichK, Todd Ward etc. Should post how much time and effort it has taken you to get where you are today. Some new comers are giving the impression that by reading a few posts on the forum; they should be skiing like you guys, in one season.


Based on Harald’s comment above I think it would be really useful for guys like Max, jbotti, and the others that were mentioned to describe not only how long it took to get their level, but also some details about the work they put in to get there. Let’s face it, you don’t just jump out of bed one morning and discover that you’re an expert skier using proper movements. You work at it, and develop it over time. The guys who you see here that are at that level have put in serious work to get there.

For example, I started dabbling in PMTS in 2006. I read Expert Skier 2, and later – Essentials when it came out. I understood it, but I didn’t “get it” yet. I started adding some PMTS elements to my skiing, but never really went back and got rid of old habits or setup issues that were holding me back. That was 2006 and 2007. By the end of 2007 I had some revelations that prompted me to begin to start from scratch with my skiing and take it in a new direction.

In 2008 I got serious about learning PMTS technique. By 2009, I had left behind some of the other avenues that I had been pursing in an effort to focus on taking my skiing to a new level. I was already a strong skier [racer] and knew a little bit about skiing so some things came easy to me; others did not. The first step was new boots, foot beds, and a proper alignment – which I have continued to tweak over the years.

Nearly every day on snow that I’ve had since the beginning of the 2008 season, has included drills and working on one or two specific movements. Every run has a focus (where have we heard this before?), and that focus is verified by video nearly on a weekly basis. To ensure that I’m not looking at my skiing through rose colored glasses or pursuing the wrong direction (since I do a lot of self-coaching), I recruit guys like Harald, WNYSkier, Max, and some others to view my skiing regularly and let me know what they really think about my skiing and alignment.

I make sure that can at any point in time compile a list of movements that I am deficient in – and from that list spot the single most important movement to work on. When working on that movement I will select a drill or two that work on it and learn those drills very well (instead of performing a bunch of drills half-assed, I perform one or two drills very, very well). It is important to note, that this is still focused on working on the basics.

This season (2011) is the first season where I have felt like I don’t have to fight reverting back to my old skiing. If I take a run and think about nothing during the run – I’m naturally using PMTS movements. This might seem simple to some, but it is opening up a [new] huge potential in my skiing because I can finally change things like timing of movements at will and adjust movements naturally based on feel.

This doesn’t mean I’ve stopped doing the drills either. Just the opposite. I spend several runs every weekend doing drills on flat terrain (all the video of me free skiing is on black diamond groomers usually with a pitch equal to or greater than 30 degrees; some close to 40 degrees). I keep pushing the limits of the movements that I have aquired so that if I need to call on them, I'm already proficient in the movements that high level skiing requires.

For those not counting, thats two seasons of dabbling and four seasons and counting, of focused improvement.

I hope to get comments here from some of the others as well.
Discipline is the refining fire by which talent becomes ability.

www.youtube.com/c/heluvaskier
User avatar
HeluvaSkier
 
Posts: 1380
Joined: Sun Oct 30, 2005 7:29 pm
Location: Western New York

Re: What does it take to become an expert skier?

Postby milesb » Fri Feb 18, 2011 3:52 pm

Thanks Greg, that's the kind of thing I was thinking of when I made that comment about the avatars. Trying to match your avatar without doing what you did is only going to lead to the hip dumping, outriggering, inclination etc. that we have seen alot of here recently. A great thing about PMTS is that even correctly doing the movements in lesser amounts will result in great skiing. Correctly doing the movements on easy terrain is a worthy- and essential to advancement-goal acheivable by just about everyone here.

What is especially telling is that Greg himself displayed all that bad ( not bad by other standards) stuff in his skiing before he got serious about PMTS. Perhaps trying to emulate some other picture?
YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCH78E6wIKnq3Fg0eUf2MFng
User avatar
milesb
 
Posts: 977
Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2004 10:17 am
Location: Los Angeles

Re: What does it take to become an expert skier?

Postby ToddW » Fri Feb 18, 2011 5:12 pm

HeluvaSkier wrote:
h.harb wrote:Max501, JBotti, Helluvaskier, and others like RichK, Todd Ward etc. Should post how much time and effort it has taken you to get where you are today. Some new comers are giving the impression that by reading a few posts on the forum; they should be skiing like you guys, in one season.


Based on Harald’s comment above I think it would be really useful for guys like Max, jbotti, and the others that were mentioned to describe not only how long it took to get their level, but also some details about the work they put in to get there. Let’s face it, you don’t just jump out of bed one morning and discover that you’re an expert skier using proper movements. You work at it, and develop it over time. The guys who you see here that are at that level have put in serious work to get there.


I am nowhere near the skier that HeluvaSkier or Max_501 is, but I am getting better month by month and there's no end in sight to my progress yet. I see no reason why I can't one day be as good as those guys are now. PMTS and deep, deliberate practice are the reason for this.

I started skiing again 4 years ago over Christmas vacation. Unfortunately, I took 6 traditional lessons and learned a pronounced "up and around" movement :oops: I also proved to be adept at rotary movements. Much easier to learn than to unlearn!

Having caught the skiing bug, I quickly bought every skiing book stocked by Amazon and was scratching my head trying to figure out how to carry the complicated explanations onto snow ... until I read Everyone Can Be An Expert Skier volume 1. Harald's books and Ski The Whole Mountain by the Deslauriers brothers were the only books that passed my physical sense/nonsense filter (I have engineering and physics degrees.)

The next season, I took the blue camp at SolVista and got to ski with Harald and Max Sherwood! It was a mind-blowing experience to see such superb skiers up close and have them explain in simple terms how they ski that way. I was hooked and my tally is now 4 PMTS camps (fun, but still work!) I have also taken 6 private lessons with black level PMTS instructors and will ski another 3 days with Diana next week. The books and DVDs are great, but a trained PMTS eye giving you feedback and teaching you how to analyze your own video will greatly accelerate your progress.

Every day I am on snow, I focus on some element of PMTS. I have two speeds: slow and fast. I spend much of my time skiing s l o w to develop balance and precise movements. That makes slow and fast both more fun.

Last Sunday was a typical day for me. I start on the bunny slope with a focus on on fore-aft and skiing on my LTE. After a couple of runs, I go up the mountain for a fun run to see which improvements are sticking. Repeat the cycle. My CB is getting very lazy, so I do a run of boot touch turns alternative with free skiing. Then a run of turns and garlands tipping to a random number sequence (pressure centered under big toe is 1, pressure under little toe is 5; 2 drifts into a turn, 3 starts a solid turn, 4 is upside down.) I hadn't done the power release in some time and the slope was clear, so it was a natural. The slope got congested towards the bottom, which was a perfect opportunity for playing with side slipping and fore-aft. A run of carved garlands to focus on upside down and a final run to lay down the biggest angles that I could concluded my warm up. I am not a natural athlete, so it takes this kind of focus to avoid backsliding and keep my skiing fun.
.
ToddW
 
Posts: 471
Joined: Sat Feb 03, 2007 8:41 pm
Location: live: Westchester (NY) / ski: Killington

Re: What does it take to become an expert skier?

Postby HeluvaSkier » Fri Feb 18, 2011 9:17 pm

milesb wrote:What is especially telling is that Greg himself displayed all that bad ( not bad by other standards) stuff in his skiing before he got serious about PMTS. Perhaps trying to emulate some other picture?


When I started PMTS I was already a good skier by normal 'tts' standards, but there was not much to emulate. There was nothing really that said "this is how you get from where you are at to where the best racers are at." Even now I wouldn't say I'm emulating anyone's skiing, but rather the movements I ski with are the movements that other great skiers use as well, so the similarities are striking.
Discipline is the refining fire by which talent becomes ability.

www.youtube.com/c/heluvaskier
User avatar
HeluvaSkier
 
Posts: 1380
Joined: Sun Oct 30, 2005 7:29 pm
Location: Western New York

Re: What does it take to become an expert skier?

Postby nugget » Fri Feb 18, 2011 10:34 pm

well who would have thought?!!!
nugget
 
Posts: 69
Joined: Sun Mar 04, 2007 12:33 am
Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Re: What does it take to become an expert skier?

Postby h.harb » Sat Feb 19, 2011 11:41 am

Todd is a typical PMTS example. He started skiing only a few years ago, but he skis like an expert, but doesn't have the experience of an expert skier. We find this happens often in PMTS instruction and to PMTS skiers. They look like they are experts on Blue slopes, but they have little experience skiing in general.
User avatar
h.harb
 
Posts: 6771
Joined: Sat Feb 03, 2007 2:08 pm
Location: Dumont, Colorado

Re: What does it take to become an expert skier?

Postby jbotti » Sat Feb 19, 2011 1:58 pm

Well when I get to be an expert I can let everyone know! This is what is great about skiing, there is always another level to push towards and achieve.

I do think that three things stand out in the journey. First is the dedication to make sure you are doing the movements correctly. This can occur using Video and getting MA on this forum from Video posted or it can occur by skiing with Harald, Diana and co at camps and private lessons. I ski with Harald or Diana at least once a year and often 2-3 separate times. I know quickly when I am not doing a movement correctly.

Second is the willingness and committment to do the drills and ingrain the movements. A lot has been written about this on the forum. You can still have fun and work quality drill time into every day of skiing. When any of us do this the results are extraordinary.

Lastly, the ability and willingness to acknowledge where one is as a skier. This sounds more simple than it is. It is very easy to ski drills by oneself and make some nice progress. It is even easier to destroy that work when one goes to ski with friends who are skiing difficult terrain that you are unable to ski without going back to older default moves that you are trying to unlearn. The past two seasons I have worked very hard to make sure that I only use the correct movements in even the most difficult terrain and conditions. This has meant that some days I only ski in that stuff for a run or two and the rest of the time is spent skiiing terrain that is challenging but where I can maintain my PMTS form. This has paid huge dividends and I encourage everyone to follow this approach.

I think it is obvious to everyone that the road to expert skiing requires a lot of work and dedication. The great news is that there is always a ton of low hanging fruit available to everyone and with any real focus and committment real change in skiing occurs quickly. I can honestly say that I have seen big gains in my skiing every year since I started skiing 8 years ago and in some ways maybe my biggest gains are occuring this year where it feels like it is all coming together (with an assist from the dodge boots!).

I will also say that in some ways I felt like I did things backwards. I learned edge locked carved turns initially and fell in love with them (even if at first I was only riding the sidecut). The transition to brushed carved turns and the BPSRT was not an easy one and it required a lot of focus and diligent drillwork. Max prehaps learned and focused on the brushed carve turn sooner and better than I did. There are a lot of reasons why the BPSRT is better to learn and perfect first because that is the turn you need to ski off piste. But brushed carved and edge locked carved turns in PMTS are so complimentary. As I worked on the BPSRT my edge lock carving got better and vice versa. I don't think you can actually do it wrong as long as you are doing the movements correctly. And learning to do both at an expert level is what the game is all about!!

I am proud of the fact that I have one turn that takes me everywhere. It kind of makes things real simple!!
Balance: Essential in skiing and in life!
User avatar
jbotti
 
Posts: 1795
Joined: Fri Nov 28, 2003 10:05 am

Re: What does it take to become an expert skier?

Postby arothafel » Sat Feb 19, 2011 4:39 pm

I'm no expert, but..

- 5 Camps
- 2 pair of Carvers
- 3 Books
- 2 DVD's
- Lots and lots of drills
- New Dodge Boots
- 3 pairs of SS and 1 pair TT80s

... I've put in some time and effort.

Which brings up the famous David Freeman quote:

"The more you know, the more you realize how much you don’t know —


According to my wife (the therapist) "...the folks who ski PMTS (at any level) are "learners" who, once identify a clear path to improvement, put an incredible amount of time, effort and money into it. They probably take this same approach to other things in life, as well."

As I continue my own PMTS journey, I am sometimes envious of those who ski in blissful ignorance! (not a put-down -- they just seem happy and content with their TTS skiing!)

But, then, every time I watch the new Free Skiing DVD... or see the coaches skiing at a camp... there's no question that it's worth the effort. It's just such better skiing. Period.
User avatar
arothafel
 
Posts: 628
Joined: Sun Oct 23, 2005 4:04 pm
Location: Villa Park, California

Re: What does it take to become an expert skier?

Postby richk » Sat Feb 19, 2011 7:19 pm

I am no less enthusiastic about PMTS than the other posters on this thread, but I represent the ‘slow learner’ end of the spectrum and am posting my experience to calibrate others’ expectations i.e. “your mileage may vary.” Here are the reasons why.

Pre PMTS, I’d skied for 35 years and taken tons of PSIA lessons, with little improvement. It’s been 10 years since my first PMTS coaching and in that interval I’ve skied 40-50 days per year and have had no less than 10 days per year of camps and privates with Harald, Diana, Rich, and Jay—often even more. Every day I ski I’m working on technique with some drills and I have a focus for every turn I make. I carry a list of all the drills in Essentials, and work on a bunch of them every day. I have a 25 page document of the tips from all my lessons which I regularly review and I re-view the 3 Essentials DVDs before every trip. I often teach PMTS to friends, in a very formal way—just one-on-one, on gentle groomed terrain, with an explicit expectation of learning, not accumulating vertical. Consequently, I get a chance to do lots of demos and see others’ learning patterns up close.

The result of all this is that I ski at a level that I thought was completely unattainable for me. There’s lots of room for improvement but I’m efficient, balanced, and in control. My goal is to ski well into my geezerhood and I’m on track for that outcome, so I’m pretty happy.

Yikes, a newcomer might say, is that the level of commitment needed to improve?

Well, it depends on your goals and abilities. Early improvement through incorporation of PMTS movements happens quickly and nearly universally, even when the movements are fairly sloppily performed. Just reading ACBAES vol 1, I made huge improvements though there was still plenty of A-framing. Some coaching and accurate feedback produced another important leap forward. But getting upside down to the hill doesn’t happen without a much greater level of precision and commitment, which is where lots of folks end up stuck.

My personal limitations are incoordination, physical constraints, and cowardice. I was born the klutz of my family, and we have previously on the forum had a mini-competition about who was least athletic. Suffice it to say, a number of now-terrific skiers fess’ed up to being the last kid picked for teams. However, I’m sure no one struggled to ride a 2 wheeler the way I did! In any case, every ski movement that I do I have had to be taught and drilled and coached repeatedly. I have figured out nothing on my own. People I teach say “oh, I get it” in a few runs for movements that I’ve taken years to learn.

I came to PMTS a weak, stiff, twisted wreck. Happily, 10 years of year-round daily stretching, strengthening, and conditioning have had a huge effect. But I’ve always been scrawny and weak and now I’m 63, which is starting to have its own impact.

Finally, I’m just physically cautious and always have been. Being upside down to the hill is one of those sensations that are appealing after mastery but can be terrifying before then.
Indeed, at occasional moments of frustration, I’ve wondered whether the books should have been renamed, “Anyone, except RichK, Can ….”

So, if you’re athletic, strong, flexible, and brave my personal experience may not be relevant to you. But for every limitation you do have, just expect to take a little longer to master each Essential, but do so with the expectation that the improvement you seek is still available to you. Actually, “Anyone, who really wants it, can …”
User avatar
richk
 
Posts: 105
Joined: Sat Oct 04, 2003 5:02 pm
Location: San Diego CA

Re: What does it take to become an expert skier?

Postby HeluvaSkier » Mon Jan 14, 2019 9:41 am

This is a great post by HH and should be quoted here.

h.harb wrote:There are many different kinds of athletes, for example, endurance, skill and strength athletes. Not all of these types are conducive to quick successful ski learning. Skiing requires a combination of skills and natural instincts for someone to get it quickly. I've seen it happen. To even reach the top 100 in the world you have to have some special talents, training, and years for "correct" repetition and practice. Most skiers go out and do themselves more harm than good when practicing.

If I take two individuals I know well Diana Rogers and Max501 for example, who I've coached extensively; you can be the judge of the time frame it takes to achieve their level. From when I first saw Diana ski, it took 4 years of coaching and training for her to reach the level beyond the best Masters racers in the country. So let's look at Diana's skill set. She is in great shape physically, she has the best boot set up one can achieve, she is highly coordinated, has great proprioception and awareness with a strong sense of feedback from the skis, her body, and the surface. She was a Level III PSIA instructor when I met her. However, this is not an enviable standard, she knew it and I know it.

Max501 basically required some canting fine-tuning, his biggest area for development was counteracting and upper body coordination. once he had that going his tipping angles increased and his inside foot pullback became much stronger, which transformed his skiing, to a high level. Max501 is in great physical condition, he's strong, coordinated and quick. Max501 also has great focus for movement interaction, he's highly aware of his body and how it moves.

The hidden "learning skills" are highly underrated. They are also totally different from the physical abilities I've listed, which are strength, coordination, and flexibility. Let me say in a non-derogatory way if I can, this is a different skill set than say an endurance or triathlon type athlete. Skiing like tennis are skill and coordination sports. Endurance sports like running or triathlons are less skill intensive. Even if you have all the above physical attributes going for you, yet you have not developed the mental "Learning Skills" you will take longer and even struggle to reach your goals. So it's not only about being a good physical athlete.

What are the "Learning Skills"? In a broad sense, they are the ability to translate information from the coach, into the movements you need to make and then creating the movements with the right body parts. You also have to absorb and recreate how the body parts are to be moved in the right order without hesitation. We will come back to the word "Hesitation" later. One of the things I always do when I coach is to ask the student when I see they have had a breakthrough, "What did you do differently." The dominant most frequent answer is, "I did exactly what you said, and I did it much more then I thought I ever had to! It's a very simple secret or answer, however not that easy to achieve.

So let's go back to "hesitation", which is controlled in the mind by fear or uncertainty. I keep trying to promote the message that skiing is about relaxation, not forcefulness. If you are tight or stiff you will not get relaxation with your movements. If you are tight and this can be a physical limitation, from a lack of range of motion, but if it is not physical, it's mental. You have to give up a certain amount of control to be able to relax.

Yes, creating the right movements promotes confidence from the skiing results. This confidence then translates to less fear and more relaxation. This topic could go on and on, but I'll let it rest for the time being and let everyone digestion.

A learning tutorial!

Discipline is the refining fire by which talent becomes ability.

www.youtube.com/c/heluvaskier
User avatar
HeluvaSkier
 
Posts: 1380
Joined: Sun Oct 30, 2005 7:29 pm
Location: Western New York

Re: What does it take to become an expert skier?

Postby HeluvaSkier » Mon Jan 14, 2019 9:47 am

Just an update from a post I made in another thread.

HeluvaSkier wrote:Today, I would ski circles around "2011 me" in an almost-embarrassing fashion... and 'today me' and '2006 me' don't even look like the same skier. That really is the power of staying focused on the right movements and the right ski/boot setup when developing one's skiing (boots/footbeds have changed a bit more since 2011). My fitness also hugely improved since 2011--adding major strength and flexibility training. In addition to the continued help from Harald (were just texting about my boot setup less than a week ago) I was also fortunate enough to spend some time on-snow with Max, which helped me better-understand some critical deficiencies in my skiing. Since then, the improvement has only accelerated. I do more 'self-coaching' with video now (thanks to my wife who is willing to film me), but I always ensure that the coaches who I trust the most (Harald, WNYSkier, Max and Reilly) confirm/deny that I'm moving in the right direction. I also STILL spend most afternoons on easy terrain working on refining movements, increasing range of motion, improving timing, using specific targeted drills. I spend my mornings when the legs are fresh on steep terrain, aiming at tighter turns, more speed control, more ski performance and bigger range of motion in every Essential... constantly pushing my skiing to be better across all turn shapes/types and terrain.
Discipline is the refining fire by which talent becomes ability.

www.youtube.com/c/heluvaskier
User avatar
HeluvaSkier
 
Posts: 1380
Joined: Sun Oct 30, 2005 7:29 pm
Location: Western New York


Return to Primary Movements Teaching System

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests

cron