Sunday, December 25, 2022

Power up your skiing using Richie Berger as a model!

In this series of photos and with the text added, I explain the development of high-energy turns used by the world's best skiers. As with all PMTS skiing, the angles are developed through relaxation and inside foot, leg, tipping, and inside leg shortening, or bending.

In my Books and Videos "Anyone can be an Expert Skier 2 and "The Essentials of Skiing";  I explain in detail how this changes your skill levels and ability to ski all turns and terrain. The PMTS teaching System was developed well before either Richi or Marcel Hircher were known to me, however, they both ski perfect PMTS technique.  My books were published before I knew Richi Berger or before Marcel Hirscher won his first World Cup race. Every movement and body change shown here is exactly as I have explained in my books, although my books and videos go into much more detail for learning these exact skiing traits.

With the energy stored in the ski and the potential rebound developed from the previous turn this amount of inclination is possible as long as you have the skills to stay balanced, which are described in the next frames. If your release timing is too late or your outside ski balance and angles aren't creating enough hold and carve, start your counterbalance earlier in the turn.

Here you can see how all great skiers increase counteracting and counterbalance as the turn comes to the finish. All world cup slalom racers show the same movments.

The blue arrow demonstrates he has increased his upper body and hip counteracting. notice that the pole tip has moved forward, his shoulders have leveled with his increase in Counteracting and Counterbalance. He is also being his outside leg shortening or bending to begin his release.

Notice that by the time Richie releases, his shoulders have come to level and his hip counteracting is still help strong, this is the act of holding the CA and releasing the feet, knees, and skis for the transition.


Conparison: By the falline (skis pointed straight down the hill) there is a slight inclination in my turns as well as Richie's. However, if you understand the difference between dumping the hip into the arc first, verses tipping the feet, ankles and skis first, these two frames clearly show the result of the knees and legs moving first that result in these angles developed. 

Follow-up notes: Don't be fooled by how easy this looks. It may also look like the movements are subtle, small or require little effort or exaggeration. I can tell you from having worked on these movements for decades these movements are not subtle, they require full engagement and commitment. 

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. 

Saturday, March 12, 2022

Some short turns runs from this season.

                                   Variations on short turns that will serve you well in all conditions.

Friday, March 11, 2022

Learning to apply World Cup skiing technique.

                World Cup Ski Technique

World Cup skiers are the most efficient and most dynamic turn producers and edge changers in all of skiing. All future skiing technical development for learning and teaching modern techniques are first seen in this disciple. 

Atle Lie McGrath is a Norwegian World Cup alpine ski racer who just won the last slalom race, at 21 years old. Here are the same techniques McGrath uses that we teach at Harb Ski Systems camps, which explain 4 of the 5 "Essentials of Skiing" from our PMTS Direct Parallel system.

                                                The Release

From these fully committed angles in a turn to the new edge angles for the next turn, "this is the transition", which requires a series of crucial movements for all skiers.

The lower body, boots, skis, and legs change angles from being uphill, or into the slope, toward the downhill side. Both legs and knees are bent the same amount at the point when the skis are flat on the snow. This is a crucial and critical movement criterion. 
The lower body keeps tipping under the hips and the hips and upper body are held over the skis and boots. The hips are not dropped to the inside of the turn until the newly engaged edges are achieved.

The graphics in this photo demonstrate the explanation of movements. 1-The red arrow indicates that the right or uphill hip is lowered and the leg stays bent on that side until lower body angles are achieved.
2-The Yellow line demonstrates that no extension is used. This allows lateral tipping movements with both legs and skis. 3-The blue curved line shows that the shoulders are stable, and not leaning into the next arc. 4-The purple curved line shows that his ski pole tip stays on or close to the snow on the uphill side in transition. This is a key indicator of his "Counter Balancing" ability with his upper body at the top of the arc.

 All movements and cues I describe here, we teach to students in our Harb Ski System camps. These movements are "Essential" for recreational skiers, coaches, and ski instructors. 

                             Counter Acting

This is the next photo in the series which demonstrates when the hip is dropped into the center of the arc. And counteracting (of the hips and shoulders) for dealing with the forces is achieved. In previous posts, I have described much more about "Counteracting" if you scroll down further.

Sunday, January 23, 2022

British Skier makes history! David Ryding wins Hahnenkamm slalom.

 From a country with almost no snow, no mountains, and no winter, how does a man learn to ski with the best skiers from Austria, Switzerland Norway, and Italy? The answer is "plastics". Yes, as was the advice given to Benjamin in the movie "The Graduate", "the future is in plastics?" Ryding learned to ski on slopes with plastic bristles.

 Is this win a shock, not really. David Ryding is no flash in the pan, he has been on a world cup podium before, at Kitbeheul in 2017, in second place behind the greatest skier in decades, Marcel Hircher.

By winning, Ryding set two records, he becomes the first British skier to have ever won a skiing world cup race. He is also the oldest man to have won a world cup race.

Let us take a look at how it was done.  The Kitzbuhel slalom is a classic race that goes way back to the beginnings of downhill skiing. It is a tough hill under perfect conditions as it has sharp rolls and sidehills in it. However, in a snowstorm, that was almost a blizzard by the second run, things got very dicey as was evident by all the great skiers that skied out of the course, or hooked a gate.

Ryding skied beautifully and perfectly for that hill and for the conditions. He was fast, he was consistent and he was in total control. Every other racer had some mistakes or trouble trying to ski a fast line. Watching the race you would have thought everyone but Ryding was on a more difficult course with extra icy conditions. The best skiers in the world were flailing, with arms flying, skis going every which way, basically struggling on every turn.  The top 5 skiers had major mistakes in the second run. 

David Ryding, a beautiful classic technique with great foot discipline and outside ski balance.

Ryding skis with a narrow stance and great inside ski preparation and balancing movements.

In this photo above, David retracts his stance ski, keeps his feet close, and prepares for this edge change.

This is a skill that served Rdying well on this undulating course, the foot pull-back. In this photo he prepares the new turn by tipping the new inside ski first and pulling the foot back to assure his fore/aft balance will be where it needs it for every turn.

These two movements are just 2 of the 5 "Essentials" that made a huge difference in Ryding's great skiing and victory at the Hahenkamm slalom.. They are well explained and demonstrated in my book, "The Essentials fo Skiing." There are 5 Essentials, and Ryding had a direct link to all 5 in his amazing skiing that won him his first world cup race.