PMTS Never Sits Still!

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PMTS Never Sits Still!

Postby jbotti » Fri Mar 25, 2022 5:29 pm

I just finished skiing with Harald for 4 days at my home mountain in Montana. I have been skiing and studying PMTS since Dec 2002 (let's say I was attempting to ski PMTS back then) and I have read and studied everything Harald has written or posted multiple times. While none of that has changed and for the most part everything boils down to the 5 essentials, Harald continues to add nuance and specificity in his skiing and in his teaching. Much of it comes from him watching both Marcel Hirscher and from Harald watching his own skiing and he continues to look for ways to pass along the nuance that he has in his skiing to anyone that is ready take the next step in their skiing. Fortunately we never had to stop and work on a specific essential because they are for the most part in place in my skiing. Perhaps unfortunately, the nuance that he was asking me to add into my skiing was hard and took a whole new level of both mental and physical commitment. At first it was incredibly uncomfortable and I felt like I was taking some risks that maybe a 62 year old should not. But as is always the case with Harald, once I got past the uncomfortable stage and committed to the movements (nuance is probably a better word), I started to have a much greater sense of control, speed control, edge grip, crisper cleaner releases with more rebound etc.

The first 2 days we worked on edge lock carving, and the goal was to take it up a notch so that I can have speed control on even the steepest pitches on my mountain) we have two pitches that are around 40% grades and I almost never attempt to carve them, but rather do brushed SRTs. Step one was getting a much higher level of commitment with picking up the new inside ski, massively pulling it back and most importantly planting the tip in the snow tipped. 2 hours of working this and my arcs felt about twice as tight and I was already able to take them into some steeper pitches. We then spent quite some time on adding significantly more LTE tipping just past the apex of the turn. This has been talked about on the forum and it's something I have played with but never owned. And it's not that easy. But wow, after maybe 2 hours of work on this I was getting the arc to come back up hill even on very steep pitches. I have one forever issue that has improved a lot but still rears its ugly head at times and that is allowing my right pole tips to get behind my boot (on that side) and getting it back in the proper place creates the need for a little swing and some very modest coming up slightly (with the upper body) after flexing to release. When the hands and arms stay right and the poles tips stay forward my lower body can work perfectly, roll effortlessly into the turn and the high C engagement (combined with the above move of planting my new LTE tip into the snow with pullback), creates a bullet proof arc, with bullet proof edge hold and it's super tight to handle steeps.

I won't say that I have perfect speed control edge lock carving on steep terrain, but I had it for 8-10 turns at a time on some serious steep pitches. I feel darn confident that with 15-20 ski days of work that I will be able to arc our steepest pitches from top to bottom without picking up speed and feeling in control the whole way. In my mind before these lesson days, I had decided that this was never going to happen for me. So its pretty unreal to have taken my arcing to a new level in just 4 days (with a practice game plan on how to go further and own this further).

The last 2 days we spent working on super SRTs that mimmic carving but are slightly brushed. The goal with these is to be able to rip these down the steepest pitches with perfect speed control. Harald mentioned multiple times that no one can race slalom well without these turns. And again when he showed me the turn and asked me to do them, my first thought was "there is no way I can do this especially on super steep terrain". These turns require massive LTE tipping starting very high in the high C, kind of like slamming your LTE edge ankle into the snow right from the high C. But again, Harald walked me through the nuance of the movement, demonstrated it for me over and over again and in a few hours I was able to commit to the movement and arc some super quick tight SRTs onto some very steep terrain. In my 15 years at my home mountain I have only seen one skier do these turns on our steepest pitch (besides HH) and she was an ex WC racer and she rocked them the whole way down. Mine are decent but not there yet, but again I do think in 15-20 ski days I can own this turn and own it on our steepest pitches.

I feel confident in saying there is no way I was ever going here on my own. And in many ways I was feeling like my skiing had reach a plateau, one that I was finally satisfied with. I thought we would ski off piste, ski some bumps, work on a few things and have some fun. Harald had different plans and knew that if I could own this level of commitment and nuance that even at age 62 my skiing could enter a new realm.

I am not really sure what the point of this post is other than to perhaps point out that even when we have mastered the essentials there is a whole realm of skiing that HH owns and more importantly can teach to those that are ready for it and want to commit to it.

I also think in some ways even more importantly, I am going to ski next season with so much more control, and I will actually be skiing with less risk of accident even though at first it looked like he was asking me to take more risk. Kind of reminds me of watching a speed skier in a race coming back from a crash, and you notice that they can't commit, can't get and stay forward. Not only are they slow, but they are also taking way more risk than if they fully committed to owning their tips.

I guess the other point is to point out that while the essentials stay the same, there is nothing static about Harald's skiing and nothing static about how he continues to add nuance to all the essentials.
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Re: PMTS Never Sits Still!

Postby Jwthe2nd » Sat Mar 26, 2022 5:17 pm

Bravo!!!
Congrats on your accomplishment.
That is a goal for me too.
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Re: PMTS Never Sits Still!

Postby jbotti » Sun Mar 27, 2022 6:57 am

Not really sure I have accomplished anything yet. The real work starts now to make what I was doing into something that is a permanent part of my skiing, and this requires some real work in my next 20-30 ski days. I do write up extensive notes so that when I get back on snow I have the proper recall.
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Re: PMTS Never Sits Still!

Postby h.harb » Sun Mar 27, 2022 10:10 am

John shares his notes with me. They are well organized, complete, and well structured, the sign of a skier who really can put together all the right components with complete comprehension. As John posted, 5 "Essentials' and you can develop a strong foundation for your skiing. However, the nuances within each are really the icing. Once you have a good grip on the basic "Essentials" the opportunity for fine-tuning is really where the fun begins.
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Re: PMTS Never Sits Still!

Postby dougtee » Mon Mar 28, 2022 8:56 am

aspirational stuff in every meaning of the world. congrats on your progress!
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Re: PMTS Never Sits Still!

Postby Jjmdane » Mon Mar 28, 2022 9:10 am

I enjoy hearing about your increased LTE tipping past the apex of the turn, and the clean arching back up the slope in a pure J type turn. I have been working on the same thing, however without additional eyes on me, I have a hard time quantifying my efforts. It certainly feels better, more efficient and powerful, however I know from coaching skiing and golf that “ feel isn’t real”, at least until it is. The only way to bridge the feel to real gap is with a coach or video, unless you are Linda Blair, and can instantaneously look back at your tracks. The nice thing about golf or tennis is that the evidence of your input is in front of you. Spin and trajectory do not lie. Hearing you describe your feedback and having it validated by Harald is very helpful. The fact that you felt uncomfortable at various stages of the learning process makes it that much more relevant as I am a firm believer as a coach, that in many instances, my role is to make people comfortable with being uncomfortable in order to acquire new skill sets. Please keep updating your progress.
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Re: PMTS Never Sits Still

Postby jbotti » Mon Mar 28, 2022 9:18 am

Without Harald or another high level PMTS coach, the only way to progress for sure is by using video. And in 2022, that’s very easy. I don’t use it enough and will much more next season.
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Re: PMTS Never Sits Still!

Postby h.harb » Mon Mar 28, 2022 11:56 am

We often talk about "What is quality coaching." We rarely talk about what traits define a "quality learner." We often assume (or as a teacher or coach we take it as a responsibility) that someone who pays for a lesson should learn or benefit. It's a two-way street. Harb Ski Systems is so fortunate to have amazing students, dedicated and really into learning, progressing, and sustaining good skiing. I can't tell you how many people after a first PMTS lesson or camp have told me, "I have learned how to have fun on groomers." A huge achievement.

At Harb Ski Systems we pride ourselves on not giving just ski lessons, we offer a ski education. Education means you continue on the right path with knowledge you can use, apply and have at your disposal.

A quality student. Micheal Jordon was asked, "To what do you attribute your huge success?" His answer was surprising, "Complete and utter trust in my coach." I can't say I have ever had a coach like that, but it forced me to figure out on my own how skiing worked, starting from a very young age I was always investigating.

Ok, what is a quality student: They can digest, integrate, and apply with a complete understanding when using the learning process. How does one achieve this? Everyone is different so I can't answer this with one example. For sure complete concentration, focus, and emersion in the components that make up the movements for every "Essential." Musicians are great students because they understand practice, perfect practice, and dedication. Underlying of course is "Motivation" without it, none of this can happen. As far as getting uncomfortable, sure, be ready, even at times get frustrated, but never give up, success is in reach. As many much wiser than I am have said, enjoy the process, take your ego out of it, failing is the first step to success.

Feel free to add other traits you find that make a successful student.
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Re: PMTS Never Sits Still!

Postby Jjmdane » Mon Mar 28, 2022 6:40 pm

When working with a new person, in either golf or skiing, I try and find out if they are willing to pay the price( not financial), for greatly expanding their skills. Unfortunately what they overtly say and what sacrifices they will make, do not necessarily mesh. A great student must be able to separate the process from the immediate result, and accept some failure and discomfort in achieving their improvement. Some will accede to this process completely and some won’t, just as in any bell curve distributions. PMTS adherents seemingly are more prone to doing drills to achieve their goals than PSIA etc. A good student is willing to pay the price for their future success. This is not binary as there different levels of commitment, but obviously the great students have the greater focus and commitment.
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Re: PMTS Never Sits Still!

Postby jbotti » Tue Mar 29, 2022 6:54 am

I like to think that I am a quality student, but at times it has felt like I’ve been rather thick. For me the main thing I want to take with me when the coaching is done is an understanding of how to practice correctly. Having 2 professional musician parents, practicing correctly was drilled into me starting at age 6 when I started playing the cello. I remember practicing a line over and over again in a less than perfect fashion and my mother came running into the room telling me stop and pointed out that I was practicing mistakes and that practice makes permanent. Grasping this has stayed with me since. And it’s just as true in skiing. Practice does make permanent and only perfect practice creates perfect/correct movements.

When I write up my notes from lesson days, I am both looking to recall what occurred, how it was taught, the mental and visual keys that enabled me to do the movements correctly, but most importantly I write down how to practice them, and try to note the pitfalls as well as ways to notice when I’m not doing it correctly. This is a place where I have upped my game in the past 5-7 years. Before this, I used to leave lessons super pumped about the progress, but with little gameplan on how to make what I learned permanent. And to me the coaching is awesome, but the real work starts when the lessons end and I’m back on snow by myself. I really want to ski at Harald’s level, and while I know I’ll never get there, getting somewhere close is an amazing result.

As crazy as it sounds, I look forward to days when it hasn’t snowed in a while when it’s time to ski groomers and just work on movements I am trying to improve on and make a permanent part of my skiing. Because when it does snow I want to be able to enjoy myself knowing than the rest of the time I am putting in the proper work.

And one thing is for sure, skiing is really fun. But skiing well, at higher and higher levels increases the fun exponentially!
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