Why can so few ski like Harald?

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Why can so few ski like Harald?

Postby Vailsteve » Sun Apr 05, 2020 3:15 pm

I admit it... I am bored bored bored being “quarantined” here in Vail. No mountain to ski on (I don’t have any touring gear...). So other than some hiking and snowshoeing, I have been binge watching old Warren Miller films on Netflix and Amazon prime, and surfing a zillion how-to-ski videos on You Tube.

I know the feeling on the forum here is ”why watch anything other than PMTS”? I have no good answer other than as a retired engineer, (BSEE, MBA) I just enjoy analyzing things, whether it is how a software program is developed or how and why a business succeeds. After 4 startups, I have certainly made more than my fair share of mistakes! And, skiing at Vail, I see a LOT of traditional teaching methods and the subsequent results.

So I have been comparing and contrasting what is presented as “this is the way to ski” by so many “expert” skiers—with the simplicity and grace of Harald’s PMTS.

Why can’t more people ski like Harald or Diana? (And yes, I know that there are some phenomenal skiers here on this forum. I don’t mean to forget anyone). But not the general public and certainly not some of the expert skiers showcased on YouTube.

The biggest single difference I see is the TTS emphasis on on steering, versus tip, tippy tip and tip some more. Second is “up unweighting (and thus losing contact with the snow) versus flexing during the transition. Watching Harald trying to up-unweight in one of his videos is hilarious...he tries but he really cannot do it!

Don’t even get me started on the wedge. In my mind the single biggest killer to expert skiing...and something I spend a lot of time working on (or more precisely...against it).

I know that as much as I try, I will never be as fluid or as graceful as Harald, Diana, et all. Started way to late...non athletic nerd engineer....But I also know initially finding Harald’s videos and PMTS on YouTube made me a much better skier.

Net, my question to the forum is, what was your PMTS “aha moment” that made you a better skier and ski more like Harald?
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Re: Why can so few ski like Harald?

Postby skijim13 » Mon Apr 06, 2020 8:20 am

Flexing my outside leg and early balance transfer to the uphill LTE, while CB.
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Re: Why can so few ski like Harald?

Postby Vailsteve » Mon Apr 06, 2020 12:26 pm

Great comment. I remember struggling so much when trying to learn to balance on the uphill little toe edge. Fiendishly difficult for me...but it completely eliminates a stem.

Only other comment I would add is foot pullback.
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Re: Why can so few ski like Harald?

Postby B.Mulligan » Tue Apr 07, 2020 6:15 am

Sure, why not, this is a fine topic. I'd only add:

I don't think it's worth it to muse why the general skiing public doesn't ski like Harald, skiing like all recreational sports is overwhelmingly populated by enthusiasts, not experts. And that's fine, I think the question to consider is: Why don't more 'experts'-that is top coaches, instructors, and enthusiasts who spend a lot of time, money, effort and focus to become very good skiers, don't look and ski more like Harald.

Some we can answer without derision, Mogul/freestyle coaches and competitors have their own thing, and the best of them aren't as dissimilar from Harald as you might think. The Big Mountain, pow skiing, ski movie pros and ski movie pro wannabees are all over the place with technique-some are very PMTS blown up on a huge scale, some are very skilled, but very unorthodox athletes who are truly inimitable and you couldn't learn to ski like them.

Others: Race coaches, junior/ collegiate racers, aspiring FIS racers, Upper level ski instructors and ski school directors, an high end, passionate enthusiasts are the small subgroup that it is hard to fathom why they don't ski like Harald-, or at least want to. That's where I would focus this question.
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Re: Why can so few ski like Harald?

Postby skijim13 » Tue Apr 07, 2020 8:58 am

I would have to say that not many ski school directors or race coaches ski at a high level. At out mountain many of the race coaches and ski instructors don;t make high level turns.
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Re: Why can so few ski like Harald?

Postby jbotti » Tue Apr 07, 2020 12:33 pm

B.Mulligan wrote:Sure, why not, this is a fine topic. I'd only add:


Some we can answer without derision, Mogul/freestyle coaches and competitors have their own thing, and the best of them aren't as dissimilar from Harald as you might think.




This is not true. Pro level bumps skiers use active rotary and are actively pivoting the skis. Of course this is the only way to ski the zipperline at speed. But its very different than what HH and PMTS teaches.
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Re: Why can so few ski like Harald?

Postby HeluvaSkier » Tue Apr 07, 2020 3:58 pm

Outside of North American teaching organizations, I think there are more top level instructors and coaches that fit into the PMTS model. A few have already been named, but there are many more. Recently I've been watching a lot of Andreas Spettel and Benni Walch (I like these guys over what many of the Japanese demo skiers are doing).

What this says to me is that North American instruction organizations and national coaching organizations (now controlled by the instruction orgs) have lost their way when it comes to technical performance skiing. The PSIA D-Team and CSIA L4/Interski Team members are an embarrassment compared with the best in Europe and Asia. Even when Jon Ballou and JF Beaulieu joined the Projected guys for a few videos, their skiing, while probably some of the best that is coming out of North America, is very far below their colleagues from other continents. Just looking at WC athletes, we are now seeing the results of a 3-decade technical void at the top levels of the north american organizations... and there is nothing being done to course-correct. In-fact, it may be getting worse as the current crop of athletes AND their coaches have grown up in an era where strict adherence to technique has been not only ignored, but shunned as unimportant.
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Re: Why can so few ski like Harald?

Postby dougtee » Wed Apr 08, 2020 8:42 am

watched some of those spettel/walch youtubes on your recommendation and was kind of surprised see that extension/retraction drill. was also kind of amazed by the athleticism apparent in their jump/dolphin turns. those guys were launching!
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Re: Why can so few ski like Harald?

Postby Vailsteve » Wed Apr 08, 2020 11:12 am

One thought on maybe why high level instructors, coaches, skiers don’t ski like Harald is the prevalence of ever wider skis (> 85 mm) in the past decade or so.

Wider skis certainly make it easier to ski crud and powder, but are also more difficult to tip. Rotating/Steering seems to be the norm with these skis, and that ties in directly to the PSIA teaching model.

I get a lot of comments on my “skinny” skis...the Blossom whiteouts are 77 underfoot...yet almost every instructor/mountain ops people working on the mountain are on 90 plus mm waisted skies.

So I wonder how much the ski itself influences techique...
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Re: Why can so few ski like Harald?

Postby HeluvaSkier » Wed Apr 08, 2020 11:37 am

I think the lack of technical focus has influenced ski design--specifically designs that are prevalent in North America with its focus on off-piste skiing done by skiers who have no business being off piste.
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Re: Why can so few ski like Harald?

Postby Vailsteve » Wed Apr 08, 2020 11:41 am

Good point!
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Re: Why can so few ski like Harald?

Postby noobSkier » Thu Apr 09, 2020 9:32 am

Vailsteve, I am going to go a little philosophical here so bear with me. Skiing suffers from a lack of inspiration and I think it goes right to the core. I will make my point with a case study: park rats. No matter where you go you will find park rats doing the same thing: conglomerating in groups, watching each others runs, and taking plenty of video. Hmm...sounds alot like like what we do! Then theres the chairlift conversations, typically engaged in serious but lighthearted discussion over trick technique or how hard someone "sent it". Is that familiar to anyone? We can also talk about visit frequency, park rats practically live at the ski hill carving out time wherever possible to participate in their beloved activity. Don't many of us fit that description? Elitism? Park rats don't know the word with the way experienced practitioners mentor the newbies.

My point is, it's not the behaviour of inspired individuals to bomb every run and talk about the economy on the chair up. This is not a sport, this is a way to kill time. There is only one thing that creates long-lasting inspiration: a worthy purpose! Is skiing well a worthy purpose? Unfortunately that question is rarely asked because most have never seen it or don't believe it's achievable. There are many who pay lip service to inspiring without providing an understandable path to success...this is uninspiring at best. IMO this is the true power of PMTS; showing good skiing and how to get there. So thats my long-winded take on why so few ski like Harald :)
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Re: Why can so few ski like Harald?

Postby h.harb » Thu Apr 09, 2020 2:27 pm

It's a good topic thanks. I trained and taught Diana to ski like me. Not really, I taught her good PMTS fundamentals and she ended up looking the way she does now. I trained her with the same techniques I have used for decades with the top US racers, basically PMTS. Now she is one of the best skiers I know and gets better every year.

My introduction statement is really too broad when I break down Diana's skiing. Sure she uses the same movements I do, PMTS movements, but her anatomy, proportions and size are different, so to me, she doesn't ski like me, but she is a great skier. She is hyper-flexible, has terrible feet for skiing. We worked with getting her basic footbeds and worked with and around her alignment issues and she became very successful. Now on her own she has learned and added sophisticated details to her boot set-ups that no technician could do or figure out. Diana has learned her body and where it needs fixing, and no one could do this for her, she feels what she needs because she knows what she is looking for, she has an amazing level of sophistication. This is a level of expertise and knowledge no one I know has. So there are many factors in the end result.

First and foremost you will never look or ski like me if you are using PSIA or other traditional methods. There are many skiers on this forum who have become super with PMTS movements and it obvious, just look at the avatars, they are totally different than PSIA skiers. So yes many of you look like PMTS skier and it's obvious.

Second, boots, alignment and ski width have a huge influence. PSIA has basically given up on any kind of good skiing model. They are all over the place with bad movements alignment and techniques. It's like they have given up and just smear around on wide skis. I guess it's easier that way and if everyone looks bad in their community of instructors then no one is singled out.

As far as North American racing, I have little to add to what Helluvaskier (he hit it perfectly) posted in an earlier post. USSA and Canadian coaching is a joke and not getting better.

I also watch many skiers from around the world. There are an increasing amount of skiers who are catching on even if they don't teach others how they ski. What does that tell you? Is it becasue they don't figure out how they themselves ski or how they move, don't they know? Even Reilly couldn't figure out on his own, what to do or how to get better.

Of all the top skiers as far as movements and technical skiing I see Richie Berger as the closest and the best. He is 20 years younger and has more strength still at this point in his life, but movement wise he's great. To me he's in a league above all the rest. But what he talks about in his vdieos and teaching, is all old school, lots of extension but not as much rotary movements as others. The Japanese guys are way off the mark in their teaching, yet some ski great.

Summary: Good athletes will figure out how to ski by watching and copying what they like. Austrians have produced not only the best racers but also the best technical skiers. Why? They never gave up on CA, feet together and CB. PSIA and CSIA gave up on these basic principles.

You can teach the masses to ski like us. Just come to a Dark Blue camp and watch our groups skiing down the slope. It is a thing of beauty. They look organized in their movements, they have a theme and purpose in their skiing and show great control. This is training and perfect training yields perfect results. I have seen people in our camps who are older, stiff, with no athletic background end up skiing beautifully. In fact, this season we saw some huge breakthroughs with camp regulars. These peope I'm referring to have been camp regulars for years, have struggled and worked very hard, and in the end, they succeed. You can't beleive the joy I see when this happens. I've had grown men cry on my shoulder while telling me that PMTS and our camps have changed thier lives. That is why we do it.
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