Author Topic: PSIA Contemporary Ski Instruction  (Read 3575 times)

HighAngles

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PSIA Contemporary Ski Instruction
« on: November 17, 2012, 05:45:36 pm »
So I just finished PMTS Short Turns camp over this past week.  It was a phenomenal camp and I really felt like my skiing has taken another leap and should continue to improve over this season.

I was at LL today and ran into a friend who is an instructor at Copper.  We got to chatting and I was filling him in on my camp experience and some of the things we were learning.  He was adamant that the PSIA is teaching the same stuff just with different terminology.  In fact coincidentally, there was a PSIA RM division clinic going on at LL today call "Contemporary Skiing".  Here's a link to a sheet describing the clinic: http://www.psia-rm.org/download/resources/alpine-documents/alpine-course-outlines/Teaching_Contemporary_Skiing.pdf

I find it interesting that the PSIA seems to be incorporating some elements of PMTS instruction (alignment, equipment, etc.).  My instructor friend said that the PSIA teaches the "PMTS turn" (in PSIA terminology a retraction cross-under turn), but that they also teach other useful turns.  He also insisted that the wedge taught by PSIA is a gliding wedge and not a braking wedge and that there's a big difference.  It would be great if Josh could chime in here and fill us in about how the PSIA teaching is "modernizing".  My friend also said that the "up move" extension is not taught and now highly frowned on during certification testing.  He said it's a sure fire way not to pass even your level II.

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jbotti

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Re: PSIA Contemporary Ski Instruction
« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2012, 07:17:26 pm »
There is only one problem. You can talk all you want about what you do or don't teach and how all of PMTS is taught in some way by the PSIA, but if that is true how come even the best PSIA skiers (demo team members) have stems in all their turns? The proof is in the skiing and last I checked the PMTS trade mark is Direct to Parallel. Maybe the PSIA should be called Never or Ocassionally Parallel?

HA knows from the camp that there is a huge difference between truly leading every new turn with the tipping of the little toe edge and big toe dominant skiing that to the untrained eye looks parallel.

But all of it (that the PSIA has needed to repsond and try to incorporate PMTS) is a testament to the amazing success of PMTS. I was at the camp as well and I was pretty amazed at how many really good PMTS skiers were at the camp. 8-9 yeras ago there weren't nearly as many.

bushwacka

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Re: PSIA Contemporary Ski Instruction
« Reply #2 on: November 17, 2012, 07:44:58 pm »
loaded question....

first PSIA doesnt teach anything. they are organization that certifies ski instructors. Nothing more and nothing less. they are opened ended and liberal unless your in an exam. and even then its getting better. I do not think I ski like the typical PSIA instructor in the fact that I use retraction tons, balance on the outside foot and remain square to the hill vs skis. but like I said their is no typical PSIA instructor so my statement about not skiing like one is kinda of nullifeid.

Alignment is something I always look at and have for years. My understanding of it gets better every year but I am able to find gross misalignment on the hill and moderate to minor misalignment though video analysis, which I use with return/repeat upper clients quiet frequently. With that said most ski teacher minus a few L3 and L3+ are really not someone who I would trust with anyone alignments.

Equipment. Well I if by modernizing you mean embracing fatter rockered skis then yes I am  :P but honestly I know that not what you mean. The thing is the majority of my lessons or anyone lessons are beginner/terminal intermediates. Personally give me the beginners any day, at least I hopefully can start them out as I feel right. The majority of my end lessons/freeskiing is done off trail. Carving skis for me are to much work I prefer playful semi fat skis even for mostly hardpack days for this stiff because for me they are easier and there for more fun for me.

on equipment I do not know if this makes the PSIA look bad, me look good or both. or neither, but honestly I feel most rockered skis out there can rip all conditions with the right pilot. I took a 177cm Fully Rockered Twin tip to DCL tryouts and got 50 percent of my scores perfect won the skiing tryout. Including shorts, bumps, medium turns, and various low end task. A National Demo Team selector gave me perfects. What I am saying is that equipment does not matter to a well rounded skier.

Gliding wedges have been the only thing taught for as long as I have been skiing, there is a huge difference to a gliding wedge and braking wedge. a gliding wedge done rightly becomes matched skis. A braking wedge is **** and I hate it when I get students taught to do it! 

Part 2 coming soon

bushwacka

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Re: PSIA Contemporary Ski Instruction
« Reply #3 on: November 17, 2012, 07:50:53 pm »
There is only one problem. You can talk all you want about what you do or don't teach and how all of PMTS is taught in some way by the PSIA, but if that is true how come even the best PSIA skiers (demo team members) have stems in all their turns? The proof is in the skiing and last I checked the PMTS trade mark is Direct to Parallel. Maybe the PSIA should be called Never or Ocassionally Parallel?

HA knows from the camp that there is a huge difference between truly leading every new turn with the tipping of the little toe edge and big toe dominant skiing that to the untrained eye looks parallel.

But all of it (that the PSIA has needed to repsond and try to incorporate PMTS) is a testament to the amazing success of PMTS. I was at the camp as well and I was pretty amazed at how many really good PMTS skiers were at the camp. 8-9 yeras ago there weren't nearly as many.

define amazing success about PMTS? The pictures in my head from what I have seen in person there is only one person I thought I was pretty amazing, and even him I know he cannt ski off trail nearly as well as me. Nor can I SL or GS turn like him.
« Last Edit: November 17, 2012, 07:54:01 pm by bushwacka »

epic

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Re: PSIA Contemporary Ski Instruction
« Reply #4 on: November 17, 2012, 08:19:34 pm »
One thing about PMTS - outside of Colorado, most people have never heard of it. Even in PSIA, so there really aren't going to be that many instructors that are going to compare their methods to something they are unaware of.

btw - about gliding vs. braking wedge, Bush, you know that there are still people that teach braking wedge every day. You and I both hate it when we get them the next day!

jbotti

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Re: PSIA Contemporary Ski Instruction
« Reply #5 on: November 17, 2012, 09:39:14 pm »
define amazing success about PMTS? The pictures in my head from what I have seen in person there is only one person I thought I was pretty amazing, and even him I know he cannt ski off trail nearly as well as me. Nor can I SL or GS turn like him.

Well you'll just have to show up at a camp and see for yourself! BTW, he says he schools you off piste as well.

bushwacka

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Re: PSIA Contemporary Ski Instruction
« Reply #6 on: November 17, 2012, 09:45:50 pm »
who are we talking about?


jim-ratliff

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Re: PSIA Contemporary Ski Instruction
« Reply #7 on: November 17, 2012, 09:59:37 pm »
loaded question....

first PSIA doesnt teach anything. they are organization that certifies ski instructors. Nothing more and nothing less. they are opened ended and liberal unless your in an exam. and even then its getting better. I do not think I ski like the typical PSIA instructor in the fact that I use retraction tons, balance on the outside foot and remain square to the hill vs skis. but like I said their is no typical PSIA instructor so my statement about not skiing like one is kinda of nullifeid.

Alignment is something I always look at and have for years. My understanding of it gets better every year but I am able to find gross misalignment on the hill and moderate to minor misalignment though video analysis, which I use with return/repeat upper clients quiet frequently. With that said most ski teacher minus a few L3 and L3+ are really not someone who I would trust with anyone alignments.

Equipment. Well I if by modernizing you mean embracing fatter rockered skis then yes I am  :P but honestly I know that not what you mean. The thing is the majority of my lessons or anyone lessons are beginner/terminal intermediates. Personally give me the beginners any day, at least I hopefully can start them out as I feel right. The majority of my end lessons/freeskiing is done off trail. Carving skis for me are to much work I prefer playful semi fat skis even for mostly hardpack days for this stiff because for me they are easier and there for more fun for me.

on equipment I do not know if this makes the PSIA look bad, me look good or both. or neither, but honestly I feel most rockered skis out there can rip all conditions with the right pilot. I took a 177cm Fully Rockered Twin tip to DCL tryouts and got 50 percent of my scores perfect won the skiing tryout. Including shorts, bumps, medium turns, and various low end task. A National Demo Team selector gave me perfects. What I am saying is that equipment does not matter to a well rounded skier.

Gliding wedges have been the only thing taught for as long as I have been skiing, there is a huge difference to a gliding wedge and braking wedge. a gliding wedge done rightly becomes matched skis. A braking wedge is **** and I hate it when I get students taught to do it! 

Part 2 coming soon
BW:
Not getting into the conversation, but I think this is an extremely well written post. Nicely done.
 
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jim-ratliff

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Re: PSIA Contemporary Ski Instruction
« Reply #8 on: November 17, 2012, 10:18:09 pm »

In the Back to the Future series Marty finally learned that he didn't have to (or need to) prove himself when someone called him yellow.

My compliments to Bush for stepping back from John's bait and choosing not to bite.

I never understand the fact that everyone falls back to "look how well he skis, he must be a good instructor".  The two are largely unrelated.  I have never heard anyone say "Look at the way Phil Jackson or Joe Torre played ball, they must be great managers."  The skill sets and personal interactions are completely different.

My thanks to Epic and Bushwacks for their honest insight into being a PSIA instructor. I hate seeing people learning "the pizza" and I am glad to hear their perspective on getting that same person for instruction the next day.  Imagine the confusion for the student, who gets different information on succesive days.

Max/John(and Todd).  If I stood at the bottom of the gondola at Killington and asked each skier what PMTS and PSIA referred to, out of 500 skiers, how many would recognize the respective abbreviations?
In fact, same question when standing at the bottom of the Vale gondola?
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jim-ratliff

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Re: PSIA Contemporary Ski Instruction
« Reply #9 on: November 18, 2012, 12:25:40 am »
I thought we were talking about PSIA Contemporary Ski Instruction" and Josh and Epic were responding to HA's request for a "view from the trenches" to which they both responded to some degree.

Somehow we got from there to John's comment that "Josh, he says he schools you off piste as well."
Especially disconcerting in that Josh had just complimented skiing as "one person he thought was pretty amazing". I assume he was referring to Harald (or maybe Heluva). For context, i doubt there are very many skiers he would say that about.

Sometimes we remind me of a bunch of kids bragging about who can pee their name in the snow the best.  What's the relevance? As Heluva once said, show me your students and I'll tell you what kind of coach you are. But the reality is that there is near zero overlap in the students that select Harald or Josh (or Helluva). (or John C, for that matter).

And I agree with Epic. In the the ski forum world PMTS is known -- but I would guess that less than 1% of the skiers at any resort would recognize the initials. And those recognizing the PSIA initials wouldn't be much higher.
« Last Edit: November 18, 2012, 12:13:59 pm by jim-ratliff »
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bushwacka

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Re: PSIA Contemporary Ski Instruction
« Reply #10 on: November 18, 2012, 06:24:22 am »
part 2....

I am going to start a whole thread on wedge turns and why we teach them, and why sometimes we do not... so hold those thoughts for that.

"up move" PSIA in most of their task during exams are not going to matter which you use unless they specify retraction or extension. With that said they want to see movement into the turn and a top part of your turn. If your moving "Up" and not going to turn they are going to fail you its not good skiing in any book. Your just acting like a pogo stick and going nowhere.

My own experiences with Retraction. I failed my first attempt at L3 because of it. In Intermountain its a day in a half exam with one examiner. I got many comments from many of the other candidates on how I should have passed. I do not want to get into that much but let just say to this day I changed nothing about how I skied that day because of that guy failing me.

second attempt at L3. I fail the first examiner and he tells me to not just use retraction if I want to pass.... I thought it was kinda of BS personally and didnt want to change. Instead what I did was ask the next 2 examiners for each task what they wanted to see. When they wouldnt say I would tell them like a gymnast  prior to their routine what I was doing. I started doing half and half runs and basically showing I owned both movement patterns. ended up passing the last 2 and passing because of it.

last year was DCL. I did the above again askiing exactly what they wanted and when they did not tell me I would tell them what I was doing.

First examiner told me as long as I was moving into the turn I was fine. Which was the most clear and concise answer I have ever gotten in an exam. I used mostly retraction and got 4 perfects from her.

Second examiner said he couldnt say. So I told him what I was using. I got perfect on the 'high end" task and good scores for my low end task from him.

Third examiner thought I was being a passive aggressive jerk for asking this.....he still gave me good scores though.


part 3 coming soon I HAVE to go ride some Mountain bikes today.


jbotti

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Re: PSIA Contemporary Ski Instruction
« Reply #11 on: November 18, 2012, 08:45:43 am »
Josh was not talking about Max. I think we both know who is talking about, but Jim you are right I was just throwing out some bait and I also commend you Josh for not taking it.

Jim in answer to your question, I agree very few people at the bottom of any lift would know PMTS or PSIA.

When we talk about Success in relation to PMTS, let's define it. First let's talk about the student experience. We know that over 90% of skiers taking PSIA lessons never return for a second one. In PMTS you can basically flip that number as roughly 90% of first time students return for more training. Second, let's look at the progress the students make. PMTS just produces better skiers. Now the student base tends to be older and by definition less athletic than someone like Josh. Josh may not know that I started skiing when I was 42. I have skied for ten years and I have roughly 450 days on snow. Max started when he was in his later 30's, and whereas my skiing has progressed nicely and I'm a solid sklier with good skills, Max just slays it. No possible way either of us end up where we are taking PSIA lessons because I started with them and I know where they were taking me and I see what that system produces. Lastly let's talk about the success of the business. When you factor in the fact that the PSIA has a locked in monopoly at very slope it's downright astonishing that Harald has been so successful. His camps are full every year and sold out in August or Spetmeber every year. His books and DVD's are aslo amazingly successful and are at the top of the best seller list every year for ski instruction. Over the last 2 years or so, more and more PSIA dominated mountains have recahed out to Harald and asked that he come and train some of their instrcutors. This is hapenning at a variety of hills in the US and an equal number now in Europe and Canada.

This is how I define success for PMTS and it's pretty undeniable.

Lastly, Josh, I defnitely have a little evil streak in that you are often so easy to bait with your bravado. I know that if we skied together we would have a great day and we would leave as friends. I also know that you work at your skiing the same way that I do and that you intend to be the best skier that you can become (as I do). Let's put aside all instruction philosophy . What we all know is that Harald is a great skier and better than anyone posting on this forum. I can also tell you that he is the best ski instructor that I have ever come across. I have played guitar since I was 10 and if I got the chance to go take a lesson with a great, I would jump at the opportunity. You should consider finding a way to get a lesson iwth Harald. He's not going to make you sell your rockered skis or make you "convert". What he will do is make you a better skier and that I guarantee!!

Enjoy your MTB ride. I am headed out for a ride later this morning as well. If only I was 28 like you!!!
« Last Edit: November 18, 2012, 09:32:49 am by jbotti »

jim-ratliff

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Re: PSIA Contemporary Ski Instruction
« Reply #12 on: November 18, 2012, 10:27:38 am »
John:
I absolutely agree with that definition of success, and I would even go farther. I think principles that Harald has been proselytizing ARE creeping into PSIA even if not in the way he had hoped or imagined.
I can't help but wonder if Josh's self described skiing style would have been well received 8 years ago?
And being a start-up in the face of an existing monopoly is always daunting.
« Last Edit: November 18, 2012, 12:18:14 pm by jim-ratliff »
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ToddW

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Re: PSIA Contemporary Ski Instruction
« Reply #13 on: November 18, 2012, 05:53:21 pm »
Jim,

Today about 5% would have recognized psia because there was instructor training at Killington. Pmts would be known by about one percent because there are several pmts skiers at K.  Among instructors, the examiners and most level 3 have heard of it.  Up is still in at this ski school along with upper body rotation. "start small; get tall!"

I gave a ride home to a liftie tonight and he'd never heard of psia or aasi.



epic

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Re: PSIA Contemporary Ski Instruction
« Reply #14 on: November 18, 2012, 08:00:07 pm »
They've heard of it and are explicity forbidden to talk about it!

You forgot the smiley.