Tuesday, February 19, 2008

What does counter acting really mean?

Counter Acting is the movement that puts your hips as close to parallel to the skis as possible. Although not everyone has the flexibility shown in this photo, the movement is part of improving your skiing. Holding this counter is important during the whole releasing phase. Polish up on your two-footed releases and than add more counter acting to your skiing. You'll be a powerful expert skier before you know it.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Harald Harb's Two-Footed Release

This is the two-footed release that is so critical to your skiing advancement. Learn how to do it and watch the movements. Make sure you have the same beginning position as in the video. Reach downhill and plant pole downhill from the heelpiece of your bindings. Release or flatten both skis and let gravity take the tips downhill. Stay forward as you release so the tips react. As soon as you are sliding downhill, tip the inside ski toward the little-toe edge. Balance on the outside ski as you finish and prepare your pole pant for the next release.

Connnected Two footed Releases
Connecting two footed releases develop skills toward Brushed Carve turns; if you begin to increase edge angles through tipping of the skis in the upper parts of the arc, you will become a great skier.

If you can achieve higher edge angles you will not feel the urge to push out of the turn. A push constitutes an up movement and an interruption between turns. Most skiers have an edge set and a push because they don‘t understand foot tipping or early edge and balance transfers. Two footed releases teache important refinements in your skiing. Many skiers can ski with brut force and upper body movements. But truly refined skiing is an art that few understand or realize even exists

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Tipping ability still reigns in importance!

The Harb Ski Systems Team just finished up our last Blue Camp of the season at Sol Vista, in Granby, Colorado. Although we have three other camps this season, this is the last blue level in the US. The rest of the schedule is: an All Mountain Camp at Big Sky, Montana, a European, May camp in Austria, and a Race Camp at Mt Hood in June. Check my web site for details: www.harbskisystems.com
This last camp kept reinforcing the success of the "Essentials of Skiing" concept from my last book, “Harald Harb’s, Essentials of Skiing“. Although there are five Essentials outlined in my book; it is clear that to most skiers tipping the feet is the weakest of the Essentials. Once tipping ability increases a whole new world of skiing is opened. Once tipping the feet becomes comfortable, access to slopes, skiers never dreamed of skiing becomes attainable. There is still plenty of winter left, so don’t miss the chance to improve your tipping skills. Look for more information and video on this subject in the coming days here on my blog.

Friday, February 8, 2008

A little bit of tipping and a little bit of counter and a little bit of balance, adds up to angles.

"Harb Shop "The Skunk Works" off I 70 in Dumont Colorado."

Honk when you drive by on I-70! Exit 234 going west look to your right.

HH all mountain steeps

Pallavicini is steep enough to keep you interested, but not so steep to frighten anyone. It normally has big bumps and irregular snow; so you never know what to expect. I didn’t take any reconnaissance runs here; I wanted to jump in and make the best of it.
In these situations you don’t want to get too fancy; solid skiing is the best approach. As far as releases go, you are just looking for what feels best. In uneven snow like this you don’t want a ski to catch or hook, so I use more of a two footed release, with new inside ski leading the tipping for the new turn; this approach serves me well here. You don’t want to jam your big toe ski edge into the snow or go for outside ski edge grip too early or too hard. You have to feel your way into the top of the arc, so the skis don’t catch or rip off in a funny direction.
Although it looks very fast and dynamic; I’m really taking my time at the top of each arc, trying to feeling the snow. Definitely every new turn is exciting, you never know what you’ll get, so you have stay alert. It’s exciting and very satisfying at the same time. I test myself in these situations every season to make sure I’m not losing any of my quickness or reflexes. I used to take more chances even on the opening runs in these situations, but now I take my time and wait to feel my skiing senses for this type of terrain develop. After a few days in these situations; I begin to really let go.


This is unrehearsed skiing, I jumped right into the steep slope without a practice run. You have to have your head about you to do this, figure out your main points of concentration before you ski. Take a moment to calm yourself and think about relaxation, with an adequate portion of aggression and keep yourself within the boundaries of control. The important thing to remember is that it won’t be a smooth, comfortable, or an easy ride. You have to make it that way, you have to impose your will on the slope, don’t let it beat you.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

How to be sure you will become an Expert Skier

Philosophical about skiing It’ s easy for me to be philosophical about ski instruction, it’s been my life in one form or another for 40 years. The legacy of main stream ski instruction is definitely consistent and continues to stay on the same course, leading skiers in the wrong direction. It boils down to the TTS organizations (traditional ski systems)not understanding efficiency of movement. Ski instruction split into factions decades ago. The racers and coaches accepted and understood that skis must be put on edge to make speed. This was greatly due to Warren Witherell’s book, “How the Racers Ski”. The instructor world stayed in the same place even in the face of overwhelming proof that skiing works better with skis on edge, rather than with skis twisting. So TTS (traditional ski systems) continued to teach maneuvers and outcomes that conflict with expert skiing and skier efficiency. This was in total contradiction to expert movements, what skiers used called "efficiency". Unfortunately, the systems that move skiers toward inefficiency are still dominating the world of ski instruction.

I’m sure skiers don’t know this about ski instruction and if they knew; I’m sure they would say it’s about time that ski instruction changed.
It is important for the TTS to keep instructors and the skiing public dumb, to avoid discovery. The inefficiencies in TTS become very obvious when you watch skiers struggling with Wedge Christie movements, when they should be skiing parallel, the first step to becoming an expert. It’s hard, but I try to justify traditional instructional approaches in my mind. Since most national ski instruction systems still, not only teach, but reinforce the Wedge Christie in skiers. I can only guess they don‘t see the long term damage done. They still believe in the short term results the wedge teaching system produces. However the residual effects are damaging, as they result in skiers and instructors stuck with a wedge and a wedge movement pattern. Rather than changing to a system that brings skiers to ski with less effort and that makes them look like skiers that people see in the movies, skiers stay clumsy and unbalanced. In an earlier Blog, I wrote that I often teach intermediate skiers. I watch them struggle with the wedge opening and body rotation needed to get around the bracing stance ski, big toe edge, that the wedge creates. Skiers taught this way can’t find a way to release the outside ski. They have to move into the next turn with an interruption of movements that otherwise, with an efficient approach, would easily connect turns.

After decades of opportunity for change, skiing may still be the only sport that teaches completely different movements than those used by expert skiers.

Hence the popularity and growth of Snowboarding, especially with the image conscious youth? I find these traditional approaches to skiing so pervasive there is no one pointing out the deficiencies in the national systems; everyone is bought in. Therefore there is no motivation for them to even consider a change. Why is it that in this day and age, national systems have yet to investigate their systems and the outcomes they produce for skiers? The fact that they aren’t researching their results, evaluating their performance, and addressing these issues and outcomes, keeps them believing old school teaching methods are still justified. But unfortunately they are a major deterrent to skiing growth and enjoyment for the general public? Skiing as an industry has to pull together and confront this debilitating insidious problem. We have to introduce efficiency into ski teaching. The only biomechanically efficient teaching program in the world is PMTS. PMTS teaches toward efficiency and national teaching systems teach away from efficacy. To understand this completely we have to know what is meant by efficient skiing and what is not. Inefficient skiing, blocks the body from moving naturally with or in the direction of the natural and developed forces that help move the body from turn to turn. Anytime a skier resists the natural forces, as thousands do with the wedge, it causes defensive core movement approaches. Defensive movements block and brace against the natural elements that would smoothly move the body toward the new turn. These defensive reactions are caused by movements like: leg extension, which moves the body back uphill, body rotation that moves the body around the blocking wedged out ski, the obstacle. In all of these cases, the obstacle is the planted big toe edge of the wedged out, stance ski. If that edge is holding, the ski can’t release; therefore the body can’t move into the new turn. If anyone isn’t grasping what I’m saying, I’m saying traditional teaching systems don’t intend or know they produce these results, but the fact is their wedge based inefficient movements and dead-end accompanying movements result in dissatisfaction. Humans are very crafty at developing movements getting them around skiing obstacles. When there is a technical barrier that creates difficult situations the body adapts. When skiers begin using adaptive movements they stop progressing and basically survive. These adaptive ways don’t move skiers toward expert skiing. Two of the movements that result from inefficiency and adaptive needs; I described earlier, actually become stronger and reinforced in skiers as they ski. Every time a skier uses these habits, wrong movements become more ingrained and this dependence becomes powerful. It’s very logical and easy to see how every time skiers ski with inefficient movements they move further away from efficiency, making the road back, increasingly difficult. I teach skiers using PMTS, which teaches only efficient movements, and I can reverse inefficient movements with my PMTS Direct Parallel system. The reversal can take a day or a week, depending on a skiers dedication and persistence. Teaching toward efficiency is a completely different way of teaching skiing. PMTS teaches efficiency from the first time a skier hits the snow. Because there is no bracing big toe edge wedge or stems taught in PMTS. The problems that plague skiers from other systems are never developed and the skier is never dependant on the stem and wedge as a crutch. Skiing with Efficiency
The problems TTS produce become very clear when you have to teach skiers who are stuck in the movements of the national systems. Fortunately, with PMTS getting the results from efficient movements, doesn’t take long. How is this done? It’s done with an emphasis on balance transfer and releasing movements, rather than with Stem Christie movements. Every skier who uses Stem Turns develops bracing and body rotating dependencies. The strength of the PMTS system is the versatility taught to skiers early in the system. PMTS skiers learn how to relax into a new turn by using movements that allow the body to move without pushing against the slope and gravity .

To ski correctly you have to learn a different set of movements.
The first step is learning and becoming comfortable with real balancing on all the edges of the skis. This is part of the core PMTS development program that is totally neglected in traditional national systems. How do you test that skiers have learned these core balancing abilities? Very simple approaches that involve traversing the slope on each of the four ski edges. If skiers can traverse a slope on both the little toe edge side of the uphill and the big toe edge side of the downhill ski; they can ski with parallel movements. When skiers learn this ability they tend and are much more likely to allow the body to move freely into the next arc, in balance. This is facilitated by the what you learn next in PMTS; relaxing and bending of the stance leg to change the ski edges for the new turn. Yes, these are expert skier movements. Who doesn’t want to learn using expert skier movements?

Isn‘t it logical that learning expert movements from the beginning, accelerates your skiing to an expert level?
It’s been more than ten years since my first article appeared in “Skiing Magazine“, called “Become Expert in a Day”

This article was widely criticized by traditional instructors, as being far too optimistic and unachievable.
The critics totally missed the point. I still stand by the name of the article and the results achieved by the movements. The meaning of the title is focused on the huge difference you can achieve for your skiing, in one day using PMTS to reverse the damaging movements. In one day you can change your skiing; and build it toward efficiency, rather than staying stuck in the rut that only deepens the frustration generated by the inefficient movement spiral. Becoming an expert skier in a day, is a reality, because with PMTS movements, the day you decide to learn with efficiency, will be your first day into the expert skiing world. Every time you ski with PMTS, expert movements are reinforced, rather than destroyed; and you came closer to the goal of becoming an expert skier.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Super Phantom anyone?

The great thing about my job is the availability of teaching all levels of skiing. I teach beginners, intermediates moving forward, and wanting to become experts; and experts wanting to be perfect.
This week I taught intermediates. It’s amazing, every time I go out with intermediates, I get as excited as I do teaching world class racers. So what does a racing coach with World Cup skiing experience teach intermediates. “The Super Phantom” of course.
What’s the Super Phantom? It’s the upgraded “Phantom Move”, from my first book, added and presented in my second DVD “Anyone can be an Expert Skier 2”.
click here for info about Harald's book and DVD 2

Basically learn to ride your little toe edge. Do this by lifting the stance foot and traverse the slope on the little toe edge. Practice this at least ten times on each foot. If you can’t stay balanced on that foot after 10 tries, you have an alignment problem. Please refer to my first book or this web site for more information about alignment.

click here for more info about alignment

After you are comfortable with standing on the little toe, use the lift and tip “ Phantom Move”, from my first book. These are movements designed to realize perfect parallel skiing. Qualifier, don’t try use these movements to turn , these are movements; not turns. In fact, try not to turn. Turning only gets you in trouble. Turning is what “Traditional Teaching Systems” teach. In this approach keep the ski going toward the other side of the slope as long as you can make it go there. You will realize quickly that by not trying to turn, but by using these movements instead; you will making the best turns you have every made.
More to come, for now, over and out.

Sol Vista Green/Blue Camps

Welcome everyone, this is my first post on the Harald Harb Blog.
We just finished a Green Camp at Sol Vista. I’ll comment first on the great improvements that occurred at Sol Vista this summer. The lodge is new, the grooming is excellent, and the slopes are safe and perfect for teaching. This is not a big resort experience; it’s only better. Sol Vista offers perfect teaching terrain without interference from skiers and snow boarders who want to show off how fast they can whiz by skiers who are learning. The slopes are wide, easy to ski and they inspire confidence in the learning skiers. That’s why we hold camps at Sol Vista.
More to come, over and out for now.