The Truth About PSIA

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Re: The Truth About PSIA

Postby Basil j » Thu Oct 10, 2013 6:42 am

I have talked to many a PSIA instructor often about carving and they all believed that you accelerate your speed when you carve and that is not what you want to be doing on steeps and in bumps. I try to carve all my turns. I feel like if I get on my edge nice and early, I actually have "MORE CONTROL" than if I get on edge late or skid or jam the bottom section of the turn. My wife & I took a "Black Diamond "lesson last year and the instructor had me doing a bicycle pedal move to get my weight more forward and was yelling at me the whole time telling me not to try to carve all my turns and open my stance to a 50/50 weight distribution on my skis. he said, "you ski like a racer and we are not in a race course" I accomplished what he what trying to get me to do by simply lifting my tail of my inside ski and pull my feet back and the start of the turn, that was intuitive to me before I even knew about PMTS. What was also intuitive to me was that by lifting your inside tail, I get locked on to my outside ski edge early with most of my weight on the outside leg. I actually stopped the lesson 3/4's of the way through and let the instructor know I was unhappy with his coaching. I took the lesson because i was trying to fine tune steep bump skiing technique. I struggle with speed control and balance when the bumps are big & icy and that is a common condition Where I regularly ski. ironically, the instructor danced through the bumps without issue, even though I did not agree with his approach or technique.
After that disenchanted lesson, I started to research ski instruction on the internet and that is where I came across HH and his videos. The technique and form HH dispaleyd was smooth, and graceful, yet powerful and balanced. It was narrower in stance than what I had been preached to about for the last few years but when I saw HH ski, I said, "that is what good skiing looks like to me!" he skied like a former racer, and i was felt that Racing was the pinnacle of skiing, not straightlining down chutes on 135cm waisted skis and hucking off cliffs. I am 52 and ski primarily in the east. I can't relate to that skiing. because it is not readily avaialbel to me on a regular basis. We have tree skiing and such, but I always felt that high edge angles and complete controlled carving and perfect balance would transfer to any condition, if trained with proper fundamentals and technique.
I can't tell you how eager and excited I am to get back on the snow and start working on PMTS. I feel like it will re-energise me for the sport and hopefully provide me with a tool box to ski anywhere I like. i want to coach juiniors in a year or two, but I want to coach with PMTS not PSIA so I have a lot of work to do.
Last edited by Basil j on Mon Oct 14, 2013 3:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Truth About PSIA

Postby skijim13 » Thu Oct 10, 2013 7:12 am

My wife and I are both part time ski instructors in the Northeast; we have found that PMTS is the correct way to ski it makes sense. My recommendation is to purchase all the videos and books on the Harb website and to start working on understanding the concepts. Additionally, built a slant board and start working on the drills that are posted on the website before winter, we hope in the future to start a study group in the Northeast that works on PMTS together. We both would love to get certified in PMTS oneday, but it is hard having to work a fulltime job and study skiing at the same time.
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Re: The Truth About PSIA

Postby Basil j » Thu Oct 10, 2013 7:19 am

skijim13 wrote:My wife and I are both part time ski instructors in the Northeast; we have found that PMTS is the correct way to ski it makes sense. My recommendation is to purchase all the videos and books on the Harb website and to start working on understanding the concepts. Additionally, built a slant board and start working on the drills that are posted on the website before winter, we hope in the future to start a study group in the Northeast that works on PMTS together. We both would love to get certified in PMTS oneday, but it is hard having to work a fulltime job and study skiing at the same time.

Totally agree. I have a slant board and spend about 15 minutes a day on it. My wife & kids think I am nuts but the proof will be in the pudding as they say. I have also started doing a lot of single leg work movements in my leg workouts to accentuate my traditional training and am shocked at the difference in strength and balance between my right and left leg.
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Re: The Truth About PSIA

Postby jclayton » Thu Oct 10, 2013 11:46 am

It is interesting how those who promote TTS , physiologically illogical movements , sensless cues and drills , also use such bad , fuzzy , english expression .
skinut ,among other things
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Re: The Truth About PSIA

Postby snowtravel » Thu Oct 10, 2013 3:01 pm

Hey, guys, stop hijacking my thread!

Oh, wait: it's not mine. Never mind.

Seriously, one reason I've avoided discussion of pedagogical issues here is that Harald has the subject pretty well covered. Having said that, I last taught only a couple of years ago, and obviously (like everyone) I have my own unique perspective to share about PSIA. Even lacking a foundation in PMTS, I certainly agree with much of what I'm reading above. Indeed, one way or another, almost all of the skiers I respect and who know PSIA have concluded that they need to look outside ATS (PSIA's American Teaching System) to achieve their goals in the sport and to help their students achieve theirs as well.

If there's interest, I can share more later about my experiences in PSIA clinics, etc. over three decades. In retrospect, some of it's actually pretty funny.

Meanwhile, there's still much more to say about PSIA as an organization. In my view, the failures of ATS are the direct, predictable and therefore probably intentional result of "institutional norms:" the procedures and values of PSIA itself.

As always, thanks for your interest...feedback, comments, criticisms and suggestions all most welcome!
Ski fast, don't fall.
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Re: The Truth About PSIA

Postby h.harb » Thu Oct 10, 2013 3:04 pm

I have talked to many aSIA instructor often about carving and they all believed that you accelerate your speed when you carve and that is not what you want to be doing on steeps and in bumps.


They are right, they are accelerating that's because they are railing not carving. Probably hip dumping at the same time.
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Re: The Truth About PSIA

Postby skijim13 » Fri Oct 11, 2013 4:23 am

There was always something that did not make sense about the PSIA system of teaching. Being a scientist I had to research the subject further and found PMTS makes sense based on physics, for example in the PSIA technical manual they talk about pressure on the skis, and say you remove the pressure on your skis by extending up. Since we know an up movement increases pressure on the skis they claim that since the skis flatten there is more surface area on the skis compared to the edges and thus a reduction in overall pressure on the skis. However, flexing to release removes the pressure on the skis since you leg is moving in the opposite direction to the pull of gravity. The same is true for counteractering you are moving in the opposite direction to the natural rotation of the legs thereby stopping the rotation of the body. The PSIA has a list of effective skiing like the 10 Commandments but never tells you how to achieve them, it is funny to watch the examiners go through the check list.
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Re: The Truth About PSIA

Postby h.harb » Fri Oct 11, 2013 12:33 pm

Since we know an up movement increases pressure on the skis they claim that since the skis flatten there is more surface area on the skis compared to the edges and thus a reduction in overall pressure on the skis.


This is again complimentary of the mis-representation and mis-direction, commonly used in ATS and PSIA's justification for their contrived system and for what they teach. And I can tell you, they need to use tons of justification, because they have no science to back up anything they teach. And I'm referring to biomechanics, not physics in this case. They are stating the correct physics, but that is not what they are doing from the biomechanics stand point. FIrst, even in an intermediate turn, you can not start any extension from a flat ski, with out releasing pressure from the edge in the turn.. You have to do something to get the ski or skis, flat first. This is only logical, but they omit it. And release, by definition from a turn starts from an edged ski, therefore unless you flex to unweight and flatten, extension starts when the ski is on edge. The only way to flatten a ski from an edge (without extending the leg) is by flexing, to get weight off, to flatten, or tip to flat. In ATS they don't flex first, so they are extending from an edge first, even on super flat terrain and while skidding, which is a whole other story..

How does ATS get a ski flat, there are two ways? You push off the "uphill" ski, to move your Cg across, this is an extension before the ski is flat, or you extend off the outside ski, (you see this predominately in their demos, usually from an "A" frame lower leg). That is not extending off a flat ski! So all this is BS and consistent with PSIA talk. They manufacturer their own version of physics and biomechanics.

If you use the uphill leg and ski, as the extension mechanism, you can avoid extending (and pressuring from extension) off the old outside ski. However this doesn't constitute a parallel turn in their system, the way anyone can demo it. If you review the movements and mechanics of an uphill leg extension, you see either the ski going flat first, which creates an "A' frame or a wedge. Or you see the leg extending on the LTE, which again is not a flat ski extension.

Here is an example from my Blog. http://harbskisysems.blogspot.com/2013/05/doing-one-thing-and-talking-about.html It's appropriately called "doing one thing and talking about another. ATS is littered with this stuff.
And the claim that when the ski is flat there is less pressure per square inch, sure, but even this doesn't match the "lack" of pressure on either ski resulting from a flexing release. Even in their delusion of a flat ski extension phase, they have already generated most of the pressure to release, from the edged ski first, the flat part only comes into play at the very end of the extension.

This type of misdirection used by PSIA types, is to confuse instructors and examiners, and it is common. Then the examiners just go out and throw out verbiage, baffling everyone with bull shit. ATS is filled with incompatibility with reality, this is just one example. The only way a flat ski extension can be done is to compromise the turn and your technique for all kinds of other skiing. The example of flat extension, can be done and justified, if you don't care about making a parallel turn. As we all know well, this have never bothered PSIA in its presentation of skiing. We often see their highest level of Demo team skiing with wedge turns and big extensions in groomed and off piste conditions.

ATS has crafty ways to justify their maneuvers and ATS attempts to allocate physics to their maneuvers in an attempt to validate their system to the uneducated. However, in the realm of skiing and human movements, physics alone does not suffice to explain human interaction with the forces, it has to be connected and validated by biomechanics. In their misguided attempts to justify ATS, it only serves to butcher biomechanics or ignores them completely.

Everything ATS does stems from the first misconception, that a Wedge Christie can be done by flattening the outside ski while stemming the uphill ski, if you understand that this is physically impossible you will understand the rest of this post. ATS through PSIA's ineptitude, is not based in science, no matter how many justifications they invent. Except when it comes to collecting dues from poor ski instructors and members.
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Re: The Truth About PSIA

Postby skijim13 » Mon Oct 14, 2013 4:00 am

You are right about the push off from the uphill ski movement, our trainer (also an high level PSIA examiner) took me aside and told me and said that since I used to play college ice hockey and can skate well, that I could greatly improve my skiing if I skated into my turns by pushing off with my uphill ski. He said this would make my skiing more dynamic.
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Re: The Truth About PSIA

Postby h.harb » Mon Oct 14, 2013 12:40 pm

(also an high level PSIA examiner)
Is that better than a low level PSIA examiner?? I never found a difference.
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Re: The Truth About PSIA

Postby semnoz » Fri Oct 18, 2013 2:14 am

Interesting posts about the history of PSIA. Thanks.

As stated above regarding Vail, the resorts and the system are just as much to blame for the poor retention rates as PSIA (if not more so). In Europe, or at least for the core countries of the Alps (France, Switzerland, Italy, Germany, Austria), ski-instructor certification is a state (as in country) sanctioned diploma, not something that emanates from a private organization. On top of that, once certified an instructor is technically an independent and has the right to teach at any ski area s/he wants, so the ski area managers (could be the municipality, could be a private company running the lifts) has no say. In addition, instructors are well paid.

On a side note, how does it work in the US for independent instructors/organizations who are not part of the ski area ski school? Does PMTS/do PMTS instructors need a permit? Ask for permission from the ski area's management? Restricted to National Forest land in order to obtain a permit from USFS? I'm curious to know.

h.harb wrote:This type of misdirection used by PSIA types, is to confuse instructors and examiners, and it is common. Then the examiners just go out and throw out verbiage, baffling everyone with bull shit.


That sums exams up nicely, clinics, too. Always found it amusing (in an ironic somewhat sad sort of way), to attend an all-day clinic where the examiner leading the morning session would say one thing, and in the afternoon another examiner would say exactly the opposite.
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Re: The Truth About PSIA

Postby skijim13 » Fri Oct 18, 2013 4:27 am

The PSIA lacks technically sound books and videos, one of my friends who decided to take up teaching was suprised when he discovered that the PSIA did not offer any true books or videos on how to ski or what to really teach the students. The PMTS instructor manuel is lights years ahead of any book the PSIA sells you. I am still waiting for a video from the PSIA on how to improve you skiing, but I guess that can only happen when you pay for classes.
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Re: The Truth About PSIA

Postby h.harb » Fri Oct 18, 2013 10:11 am

What and expose the contradictions in the system, it will never happen. Without transparency of their system, they can still rationalize, evade the question, and dodge bullets with techno jumble. If they exposed their system to the public, the cards would come crumbling down and the Emperor would get very cold on the slopes.
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