Friday, November 18, 2022

Skiing at the highest level: How to Transition with Fore/aft Balance preparation.

       The PMTS Transition as applied by World Cup racers.

All skiers at any level can learn to use the World Cup PMTS Transition. We teach this at our Harb Ski Camps to all levels of skiers. Does everyone get it into their skiing immediately? Sometimes yes, however, even if you don't get it right away, learning this sets you up for success and ongoing improvement to your skiing.

The sequence below shows the results of correct movements are used by David Ryding who's slaom technique closely resembles Marcel Hirscher's skiing. Observe the changes made in how the old stance ski or outside ski is lifted. Fig. 1 Bend the leg and pull the ski off the snow. Fig.2 Free the whole ski from the snow and transfer balance to the other ski while it is still tipped to it's little toe edge side. Fig. 3 the arrow tells the story, pull the lifted foot back while tipping it to the new edge. The LTE. (Little toe Edge) You can use and identify for yourself if you are properly executing this series of movements by the lifted ski's position. At the release the tip is up higher, by the transfer the ski is level to the snow, when you pull the ski back the tail is off the snow and the tip should be touching the snow. 

Fig. 1 The Release
Fig. 2 The Transfer
Fig. 3 The foot and ski pull-back

 A skilled coach will approach this teaching one small step at a time, skiing slowly. The idea at first isn't to produce a perfect turn. In fact, it preferable to not be concerned about the quality of the turn, it is more important to focus on the movements that create this transition.

The Release
Bend the outside leg and lift the ski off the snow.

Transfer balance to the uphill little toe edge side of the ski.

Pull the lifted foot and ski back under the hip until the back of the ski is lifted more than the tip.

Once you have a good sense of the lifting and pull-back movements then you can add the timing for the double pole tap.
Notice the hand position. He is about to tap the snow with both poles at the same time. This triggers the foot pull-back

Double pole tap timing.

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Leg and bone curvatures for skiers, greatly influence your edge holding ability!

One of the realizations we noted studying ski racers for 50-plus years and performing alignment assessments for 40 years is the differences in bone curves and how they influence skiing biomechanics. 

For the layman all you have to do is look at this photo to see the curve in the shin; this is a high tib-fib varum. Few experts, even those that deal with anatomy or foot alignment like podiatrists, differentiate between this curve and the standard bowed legs. Both are curves in the shin however in skiing they have and should be addressed differently for optimizing boot setup or alignment. 

In this photo, the knee mass is lined up with the ski edge rather than with the center of the foot. As the suits and ski pants became tighter in fit around the lower leg and shin, leg curves become more apparent. Not all shin curves are the same and they all affect your skiing technique and ability to hold an edge differently. You might even say that there is a certain predisposed natural selection for success based on an ideal leg curve for ski racing. Going back as far as Pirmin Zurbriggen, his high tibial varum was obvious to us and so was his skiing success, that correlation repeats itself with a high percentage of successful ski racers.

The biggest part of this curve is near the top of the shin.

How do we treat the differences between a lower tibia varum coming out of a ski boot compared to a high tib-fit varum as shown by the skier in the photo? The low curve is optimized by cuff adjustment, the overall curve as in the graphic below is adjusted mostly with under-boot canting and high tib fib varum mostly requires only fine-tuning of both boot components. (this is also always influenced by ankle and foot range of motion capability)

A perfect example is Erick Schlopy, a bronze medalist at the world championships. His high tib-fib varum needed no under-boot canting and only slight cuff adjustment. However, due to his rigid strong foot and ankle, our boot board modifications significantly improved his edging ability.

This type of optimization requires a complete assessment of all functioning moving parts that influence skiing. The ankle and foot lateral inversion and eversion movement capability and the ski boot's influence on foot/ankle movement included, including all of these measurements must be taken into account before adjustments can be finalized.

As you can see by this graphic from the Cleveland Clinic, which has been treating lower leg deformities and creating footbeds for these conditions for 100 years, no reference is made to bow legs being part of a shin curve. This graphic illustrates a bowed leg condition based on Retroversion in the hips rather than a shin curvature. 

This is an example of the commonly understood bowlegged low-shin curve anatomy.

Thursday, September 15, 2022

Skiing with the emphasis on the inside half of the body to create movements.

Inside foot and leg Movements

PMTS Direct Parallel is the proprietary teaching system invented by Harb Ski Systems. It is built on the fundamental that the movements of the inside half of the body in a turn, build a turn and is the basis for modern ski techniques and efficient skiing movements. The post below on my Blog Spot demonstrates how the body is split and where movements that create great angles and carving originate. 

Where you can find PMTS Direct Parallel Techniques

Starting with my book "Anyone can be an Expert Skier" copyright 1998, I described the inside foot movement called the Phantom Move. In my follow-up books, Expert Skier 2 and "The Essentials of Skiing" I elaborate on and dissect how the inside half of the body is moved so all levels of skiers, on any snow can achieve success. 

Sounds simple enough, however, this is completely opposite to traditional teaching and when done in the right order with the correct movements it will completely change your skiing. So if you want to learn the modern ski technique, this is the only complete system in the world that has proven over 25 years and with thousands of skiers that it's a game changer.

PMTS Fore/Aft movements keep you ahead of the turn.

Single or double foot pull back are the keys to staying in fore/aft balance.

Every skier on the world cup has the ability to do Dolphin Turns. This is the most advanced form of "Two Footed-pullback. However, to teach this we begin with the easy first steps which are very effective.

I hear this advice from race coaches/ski instructors either in written advice, in videos, or on the training course, "Get your hips Forward". Yes, that would be nice, however, there are no "pull your hips forward muscles" in the whole body. Rarely does that advice get results that can be used turn after turn? 

If you use a different approach that activates the hip forward result you can use it simply and quickly for every turn. This movement advice was also pioneered by Harb Ski Systems. We teach this at our camps using a progression with the "Foot Pullback" approach. 

Starting this movement right at the release of the old turn sets you up for a good Fore/aft balanced turn every time. In the photo above you see Petra using this exact movement with both feet. She lands perfectly balanced and forwards on her skis. We teach this using a one-foot pullback at the beginning. With the approach you don't have to be an expert, all levels of skiers can use it and benefit from this movement series.

Monday, May 16, 2022

Build a turn with inside ski tipping movements.

When asked what I focus on in a series of turns or a ski run, this is how I describe my approach. It usually surprises people.

The inside half of the body creates efficient movements and angles, not the drive for pressure on the outside leg and knee. 

Focus on the inside half of the body that creates the next turn.


                                              Starting out I split or divide my body in half. Study these photos. Since I know that the initiation of a turn involves a release of the old outside ski of the last turn; I focus on that half of the body which will be on the inside of the next arc. I always think in the future, not in the moment which always triggers my next turn. 

Here the black arrow is on the inside foot tipping movement that is the focus. 

This inside foot tipping movement should be accomplished as you also bend or shorten the inside leg. Also, the movement that keeps you forward in your skiing is the "foot pull-back" which is accomplished with the unweighted inside foot.

When you begin to realize you can simplify your thoughts and movements by focusing on only the half of the body that creates the next result; you can stay ahead of the disruptions a slope can deliver.

Thursday, April 7, 2022

Quick and powerful short turns!

This photo is from a series of short turns on really steep. Notice the full-body angles, compared to the "Lower Body" angles in the photo below.

This video demonstrates the way you develop short turns without an extension or push against the snow at the rlease.

A "lower-body" short turn shown here, is less risky and should be the first one you work on.


Friday, April 1, 2022

Turn Timing and Preparation in very short turns!

Pole and arm use and preparation are rarely taught, understood, or used properly. The lack of this understanding can hold your skiing back for years. 12 years ago I embarked on a skiing development that evolved into changing my technique and my turn timing. The end result is what I call "The No-swing Pole Tap. This is what we teach in our PMTS system.

This photo demonstrates pole preparation in place immediately near the "Apex or just after the skis in the falline. When you achieve this timing you never feel rushed and the upper body is stable without creating rotation or leaning movements. This is substantiated by the strong position of the inside pole and arm. 

When this pole prep isn't ready by the point where the blue arrow is shown in the red arc, the upper body swings quickly and detracts from ski angle, edge hold, and turn quality. Most skiers use too much pole swing because they drop the pole behind the body while dropping the arm and pole to the inside of the arc.

A strong inside half of the body is shown in this photo, which compliments the early pole preparation.