Friday, October 15, 2021

The world's "Best Skiers" ski with the world's most efficient technique.


 When learning to ski with “PMTS Direct Parallel” ™ you end up with the same technique as Hirscher. Without trying anything special and skiing my normal turns, the technical elements of these two techniques are exactly the same. I knew nothing about Hirscher or his technique when I wrote my books, “Anyone can be an Expert Skier” and the “Essentials of Skiing.” He is 29 and I am 71 in these photos. Hirscher uses the most efficient ski technique I have ever seen in my coaching career. With efficiency, you can ski for the rest of your life, with less fatigue, complete control, and more fun.







Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Skiing April's light powder, Arapahoe Basin


                                                    https://youtu.be/PgBJzchAj8w




Saturday, February 27, 2021

Skiing traditions: Debunked and Explained! 1st in a Series, by Harald Harb

Just a short history: 

The transition in skiing has been misrepresented or not described correctly in ski literature since the beginning of time. In fact, in Warren Witherell's two books, it is never addressed at all. George Joubert, the French coach, in the late 60s and early 70s,  wrote two books. In them he does address the transition, however his descriptions are incorrectly focused.  I can make that statements because skiing at the highest levels has evolved differently from the way Joubert described it. Many so called ski technicians even today reference these books as the "gospel" never looking to evolve or properly analyze skiing after Joubert. Therefore ski teaching has stagnated since. 

In this series I will explain and break down how 21st Century skiing works at the highest levels and how recreational, intermediate and advanced skiers can add significant improvements to their skiing enjoyment and performance. With these methods and approaches you will ski with more efficiency, control and ease, rather than fighting gravity. You will learn to enjoy relaxation and the ease of acquiring ski performance with less effort. Let's get into it!

The Transition

The Transition is the most complex part of ski turns and requires the biggest change in the body. In the transition, your lower body, from below the hips, moves downhill, and the upper body stays the same until the lower body engages the skis to the new edge angles. Once this is done, the upper body needs to move from one side to the other over you skis. Ideally, this is accomplished without a pivot or and effort to create direction change. Once in the arc or a turn, the movements are relatively simple and consistent with how you stand on the ski. The transition is the point at which, everything happens, all this
changes and you move from one ski to the other and from one turn to the other. The best free skiers and racers can get this done before they reach the fallen. Let's have a look at the basics. 

     For the first session of body movements in this series; I focus on lower the body.       

To achieve a good transition, you have to have the skis engaged, not slipping, and the inside leg bent more than the outside leg. This happens with inside flex bending and tipping. Also, the upper body needs to counter-act the turning forces, called counter-acting. More on that later.


Through the bottom of the turn continue building your angles to load the outside ski. Many skiers give up the turn too early and therefore are rushed, therefore never getting the lower body released.


The actions of the release have begin already in this photo. The outside leg has shortened through bending  and lightening the pressure. How do you lighten pressure? You physically retract or pull the ski and knee up. Photo below.


The red arrow is the movement to retract. The blue arrow is getting that ski released.         The black arrow is where your balance and pressure goes when you create these     movements.



Now the tip of the ski is lifted, both knees are equally bent and the angles from the previous turn are gone.


The skis are flat, and half way through the transition. Notice nothing else has moved, only the lower leg flexing and bending up toward my chest,  has created the transition. Now both legs have the same amount of bend.

The lower body transition is complete, now you build the actions for the arc. The inside leg keeps bending and tipping,toward its outside little toe edge of the ski, until it is shorter than the outside leg.



The red arrow is for continued action of bending and flexing. The yellow arrows are
to indicate increased tipping.   Never push against the outside leg, common
error tau
ght to skiers.



In the turn, all is good.

Keep a look out for the second article in the series where I address the upper body responsibilities in transition.

Sunday, January 10, 2021

One of the 5 "Essentials of Skiing" Counteracting!

If "Carving" is one of the things you want to achieve in your skiing, then "Counteracting is a big contributor to that skill. In this post, I define some of the key ways to learn how to achieve and develop CA.




 The Yellow line curve is the arc of the turn. The two blue arcs are movements you make while in the arc, starting at the top of the arc and moving the arm and hand forward toward the tip of the ski until the end of the turn. 


Notice the ski pole tip is also moving downhill and in a circle as much or in advance of the skis coming through the arc. 


When you begin to learn how to use counteracting it may not work its way down to your hips where you see the red arrows, at first. (photo above)




This is difficult for many skiers to create hip CA due to either lack of awareness or flexibility. With practice, you can increase your hip support for your turns.


The forces in a carved turn want to rotate your torso, which decreases ski angles and edge hold. This is the reason to develop CA movements. Just trying to hold a countered hip isn't enough. Counteracting, or CA is a movement, not a position. 


Begin by using the pole tip, arm, and hand on the inside of the arc, to develop your CA movements through turns. Slow down, and pick a relatively flat slope to practice this. Make the movements from the top of the arc all the way to the end. This requires effort and patience, it won't happen immediately but it will pay off with great skiing if you stick with it.


Friday, November 14, 2014

10 to 13 year old ski racers, with superior skiing and mature technical development, Are Fast!

There are some notions and beliefs around US Ski Coaching,  that young racers who ski too well and have learned good technique; are never going to be successful fast racers, because they are over techniqued. 

Sometimes I have to just shake my head in wonder at the belief systems that prevail in skiing.


The notion that good technique makes you a slow skier is not only absurd, but it's an attempt to remove the responsibility of good coaching from the coach's back.  

When proper technique is coached and developed a young racer doesn't have to dwell on his skiing he can relax and ski fast without thinking. The individual and his personality traits bring the fire in the belly on race day. And if you don't have that fire naturally, you probably won't make it whether or not you have good or undeveloped technique.  It's the determination and motivation that makes a skier aggressive and an attacking racer, not diminished in the slightest by his ability to ski well.

 In fact, it's the opposite, the better you ski the more confidence you have to ski fast, not the other way around. Sometimes in the US we have strange ideas about what develops success.
In Austria all the racers learn to ski well and then they develop into champions, and they all  "amazingly" have the same good technique. Are they over techniques? Maybe they are but they are still fast.

Below are three very fast racers with exemplary technique. When taught correctly and without technical overload or jargon, skiers don't slow down to ski well in a course; they rely on the instincts trained into their skiing movements. 


In these photo you see skiers with world cup skiing. Outside ski, skeletal alignment to the forces and excellent balance.


 These skiers developed these basics through exercises skiing outside of gates. This requires focus concentration and discipline. This is often not something everyone has or brings, many skiers have to learn how to focus just as they have to learn different techniques.


(Below photo) This is 10 year old Zack, he's highly focused and loves exercises that he uses to  develop his skiing by training outside of gates.


A highly skilled skier always looks like they have world cup technique, doesn't matter what age.

Sometimes you have a wild and loose skier who needs to be gradually reigned in to develop enough technical ability, yet not lose that free spirited edge. Ever skier and personality is different and coaches need to realize you don't treat all racers the same way. The skier below is a free spirit, yet he now has the ski technique to also stay in the courses while skiing fast and free.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Proper coaching results in excellent racers.

This racer is 13 years old, has been taught "How" to get to this relationship to his skis. This involves using correct movements into and out of the turns to accomplish a photo like this. These are world cup skiing techniques and body movements and angled relationships.  These types of movements are not taught by USSA education to coaches or by coaches using USSA training. This is a totally different system, much like what the Austrians use to create the best skiers in the world.



If what I stated above is the case, what are the key differences from what you see here and what is in USSA Coaches Education. The first glaring difference, if you listen and compare to USSA coaches education, USSA coaches education has no clearly outlined, "descriptions of the movements" or "how" to create the right movements to become top level racers. Yes, sure there are "concepts", but concepts don't teach coaches how to coach or racers how to move their bodies.

Second, there are glaring portions of a ski turn missing from the overall understanding of skiing in USSA coaches education.  For example: the transition, going from one turn to the next, is not described, no movements are appropriated to this most important aspect of skiing. The transition (between gates) in racing, is the part of the turn that has the most body changes, largest body movements and where American skiers most often have trouble, yet no mentions of this phase, in the skiing pyramid, hierarchy, for slalom. Also the transition sets you up for the next turn. If you listen to the  Sasha Rearick, US Head Men's Coach,  in his presentations, there no mention of a transition. No mentions of it's importance, how it's done, what movements are involved or how to set it up.

Another glaring omission, is boot, foot and ski tipping, how to tip a ski on edge, which ski to tip,  how to un-tip the skis and what movements are involved.

Mr. Rearick tells coaches in presentations that he will not tell them "how" to coach, or how to teach, or what to coach, they should use their imaginations. US coaches have been using their imaginations for decades, how is that working? Yet, the US ski team still complains that there are no talents in the development pipeline. How is it that the Head Coach of the Men's US Team after berating the US domestic coaches for not developing enough world cup skiing talents, can end the presentations with no help? He goes on to say he isn't going to tell them how they should coach, so how does he expect to get from domestic programs what he needs on the world cup. Does anyone else see a total disengagement of responsibility from a national team coach as an educator? If he isn't going to educate coaches, why is he presenting?