When Ski instruction went wrong!

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When Ski instruction went wrong!

Postby h.harb » Tue Jan 02, 2024 6:09 pm

The Essentials of Skiing

When ski instruction went wrong.

(This is the first article in a series I'm producing to explain why and how ski instruction went wrong. I'll define where the mechanics of movement differ and I'll describe and compare the damaging aspects of incorrect methodologies.

Ski instruction went wrong right about 1965 through 1969 with the exception of one person. Warren Witherell swam against the trends and was the first to promote the idea that skis when angled gave skiers needed results, while PSIA ski instruction was peddling turning skis by steering or twisting. PSIA wasn't alone in this, many other national systems followed this trend, Canada being right in there with PSIA.

I credit Warren for bucking the trend of ski instruction with his first book “How the Racers Ski”, he was on the right track. I didn’t and still don’t agree with Warren’s later publication, “The Athletic Skier” which was full of inconsistency and littered with outright mistakes.

Warren was coaching skiing in the Eastern US when I was still ski racing. He saw that his early FIS racers, who were between the ages of 14 and 17, already skied better than ski instructors, and started to describe and define why. He was an advocate of getting the skis up on as high an angle as possible, which made the skis perform and carve a turn. Which is "essential" for racing.

While Ski instruction was focused on getting skis to turn. High angles are your enemy if turning your skis is your goal. Fundamentally these are very two different approaches and achieve different results. The next topic in the series: "How shaped skis changed the game of skiing."
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