Yin: Wind and Water, feminine energy
Her Majesty QUEEN NOOR of Jordan
On a trip to Aspen ,Colorado, Queen Noor of Jordan took time to admire canvases from the Tonoussi brothers of Essaouira, Morocco. Surfing and windsurfing themes in print and paint by these artist-athletes are featured by Ride In Harmony™.
We confess to liking cultures in their strongest, most positive expressions, allophillia. RIH often finds precedence for its universal methods in cultural expressions of others.
Queen Noor lent herself to the cause, highlighting the Tonoussi Brothers art. She had heard that among the visitors to Essouira, Morocco, the Americans were the most afraid to get to know the local people. There was a thought that a familiar image from home would break the ice. Here she holds the signed center of a triptique by Mostofa Tonoussi.
Yang: Mountain and Snow
Before leaving Aspen: this was said
“BEST SKI INSTRUCTOR IN ASPEN...personal method RIDE IN HARMONY™."
In the Denver Magazine this was said: about our unique, boutique, technique. By Claire Walter
"For 12 years, Aspen instructor Cary Thompson has been evolving an approach that helps skiers and
snowboarders get the feel of the mountain by harmonizing their turns with the terrain. His organic, Zen influenced..
See the full article.
His Website, rideinharmony.com, addresses skiers,
telemarkers and snowboarders."
Ski and medical journalist Nick Isenberg capped off his recovery from stage three thyroid cancer by learning an easier way to ski with Ride In Harmony™ founder, Cary Thompson.
Journalists who have followed the sport for years and have personally applied the method to their own skiing, know how significant the improvement is compared to traditional instruction.
Exiled Ski Instructor finds Sunlight
by David Frey, Aspen Daily News Columnist
Monday, January 12, 2009
GLENWOOD SPRINGS - Part way down a beginner's run at Sunlight Mountain Resort, Cary Thompson turns his skis against the hill and raises his arm like a handshake.
"This is the fundamental motion of Ski in Harmony," Thompson says, "and this is the motion that got me fired from SkiCo."
Thompson, 61, had been an Aspen Highlands ski instructor since December 1992, starting in the last days former owner Whip Jones ran it as an independent, low-frills ski resort. Over the years as a full-time ski instructor with the Aspen Skiing Co., Thompson developed his own approach to instructing that he dubbed Ski in Harmony, which can be applied to both alpine and telemark skiing, even snowboarding. He taught the approach as a boutique method for years, but last month, after 16 years on the slope, the SkiCo fired him for teaching methods that strayed from ski instructor orthodoxy.
"I was run off for not towing the party line," Thompson said.
A SkiCo refugee, Thompson has taken his unorthodox approach to the slopes of Sunlight, where General Manager Tom Jankovsky has given him rare permission to teach his method independently, outside of the mountain's own ski school.
"It's a departure from the usual policy and it's not something the ski school really likes," Jankovsky admitted. "But I've just known Cary for a long time."
In describing his method, Thompson can range from lecturing on Greek art to American Indian religion to Zen, but the heart of the approach is simple. If you want to turn left, raise your left hand. If you want to turn right, raise your right hand. The skis naturally turn toward the higher hand, he says.
He insists his simple approach can boost beginner skiers to levels they'd never expect to reach so quickly, and that it reduces the risk of ACL injuries.
Thompson isn't the only one to teach similar methods, but the approach runs contrary to accepted Professional Ski Instructor Association techniques. But Thompson says the PSIA approach, followed by SkiCo and many other ski resorts, creates an artificial separation between the upper and lower body that makes it harder to ski.
"They're sort of the flat earth society in scientific thinking and athletics," he said.
His approach has won him recent write-ups in Denver magazine and Four Seasons, but it ran afoul of SkiCo, which fired him after it became aware that his method had strayed beyond the PSIA guidelines. He appealed, but the appeal was rejected by a peer council.
"He didn't want to adopt his program to fit our school," SkiCo spokesman Jeff Hanle said. "It's nothing personal."
Thompson wasn't alone in teaching his own particular approach to ski instruction. Thomas Crum specializes in his Magic of Skiing approach, a mind-body technique that draws on Aikido. John Clendenin offers his personal Ski Doctors method. Programs are aimed at women and at mogul skiing. But those other instructors still conform to PSIA guidelines, Hanle said.
"He was not willing to do that, but that's what we base our whole school on," he said.
Thompson has trademarked some of his key slogans: Ski in Harmony, Ride in Harmony, and What Animal Are You?, part of a visualization approach he sometimes uses. He also has seven patents pending on a variety of ski and binding designs.
In a black cap, white jacket, corduroy ski pants and telemark skis, Thompson, a former owner of several Waffle House restaurants who only learned to ski himself when he was in his 40s, glides through the runs at Sunlight, doing pirouettes down the slope as his skis follow his raised hand.
"We need to focus, but not much," he says. "What are the three questions? Where are you? Where are you going? What animal are you?"
Thompson has a weathered face and short-cropped silver hair. Although he went to high school in Colorado Springs, he was partly raised in the South, and he speaks with an easygoing accent, whether he's talking about ski techniques, film history or etymology.
The core of his method comes down to simply raising the arm, what he calls the "Zen reduction of the pole swing."
"As the hand moves forward, it creates a twist in the body," he says. "The rest of the body follows behind it."
This "contrapposta" position, common to quarterbacks, Qigong and ancient Olympians, is key, Thompson said. He said it caught his eye when he noticed how similar ski legend Stein Eriksen looked in an old photo at the Sundeck to Michelangelo's rendering of a pointing God on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.
Kerry Cesspooch, of Fort Duchesne, Utah, one of a group of Utes Thompson has instructed, praised the method, saying it got her skiing top-to-bottom on Buttermilk after three hours of teaching.
"After I got the hang of it, I was like flying coming down," she said. "It was really easy, like putting butter on toast."
Thompson said he left behind health insurance and some top-tipping clients to stick to his technique, but he's not complaining about his Sunlight exile. He points to runs he says are as steep as Steeplechase, trees like Temerity, and plenty of fellow telemarkers.
"It (Sunlight) has a lot of elements," he said, "and that includes a lot of skiing."
*correction and update- It was one patent and 19 claims have been granted.
Dear Mr. Frey,
I read your piece about Cary Thompson’s move to... with great interest. ...I do know that he’s got it right and that his instruction method works. I’m 63. I have been skiing since 1972. I originally learned to ski at Killington, Vt. as a fIve day wonder...Bottom line, I eventually became an advanced to discrete-expert skier... I also got into journalism and became a ski writer to support my habit. I’ve skied throughout California, the West and the Pacific Northwest. I even skied at Zermatt once. I made the switch to shorter parabolic skis and realized that they required a different technique. In March, 2007, I was skiing with a friend at Aspen and decided I needed some instruction on how to handle the new skis. As it happened, we were at Highlands that day and I drew Cary as my instructor. ... nobody else could keep up with us, so my group lesson turned into an all-day private class.
Cary totally transformed my skiing in one day! ...his technique is ridiculously simple: Look where you’re going and (point..ed). That is all there is to it. When you ski this way, you’re always centered on your skis; your butt and your upper body never lag behind them; you’re always in control. It works on the flats, it works on the steeps, it works in the bumps. It’s also virtually effortless.
I don’t know if Cary’s technique would have worked with the 205 cm Rossignols I used to ski on. Skiing on those, for me, was all about angulation -- keeping my upper body quiet with my torso and both hands always oriented to the fall line while my legs did all the work. Essentially, that was the way all the PSIA instructors taught me to ski. It worked, but it was tiring. It also took me many years and lessons to master. Cary’s teaching method offers a true shortcut to skiing proficiency. Maybe that’s why the PSIA doesn’t like it.
HAPPIEST DAY SKIING
Dear Mr. Frey,
My wife and I stayed in Aspen in the middle of February and I read with interest your article about Cary Thompson. I had 3 days of classes with Cary on Aspen Highlands a couple of years’ ago and he was a remarkable instructor. So much so, that prior to arriving in AspenI had been in touch with Cary about taking some lessons with him and was astonished to discover that he had left Highlands to go to Sunlight.
I headed to Sunlight and had a most fabulous day. Some of his theories can be a little ’new age’ for my taste, but his methods work. I persuaded my wife, a natural skeptic, to join us for a lesson later in the week. She described the experience as her "happiest day skiing" and it was apparent how much her skiing had improved. Most importantly Cary built great confidence in her own skiing.
I find it hard to believe that the ski company in Aspen has allowed such a talented instructor leave, taking his hugely effective method with him. We’ve been coming to Aspen from London for the last 5 years. I know that next year we will be spending much more of our time at Sunlight rather than at Aspen.
With best regards,
Technique and Theory
RE-INVENTING THE SKI AND SNOWBOARD LESSON - What to do when your theory covers everything.
1. We address skiing, both alpine or traditional, and Telemartk or Free Heel as it's being called, and snowboarding in each lesson, rather than separate them. Each is an application on-snow, of universal concepts. Then we layer knowledge, your lesson, upon those universal principles.
2. Building big to small, holisticly, you are taught the things that can get you the most benefit first, usually in lower numbered lessons. From each one, if you did nothing else, and let your body flow from a centered stance, you could turn. So with a little information you can get a lot from it.
3. Eventually, you'll come to a situation that could be enhanced with an exercise or understanding that spotlights additional technique. Then we address specific situations like bumps, powder, and hard surfaces, or controlling your speed. Your success relies upon knowing where you are, where you are going. Your bliss may rely on knowing what animal you are, but that's personal.
4. The more advanced lessons typically require a heightened level of awareness of what you are already doing, more than a departure from the technique you've learned. We are not reinventing the body and its relationship to energy, we are harmonizing with it. But we may be reinventing the ski and snowboard lesson.
5. Icons and thumbnails for each lesson are provided to make the concepts easy to recall.
6. Draw inspiration from the best athletes in nature, the animals. Enjoy your time with us. Your lesson comes in the form of a PDF download.
Significant, Fundamental, Universal traits:
The FUNDAMENTAL MOVEMENT OF ATHLETICSsm
About: POINTING - Learn an easier way to ski and ride. Synchronize the direction of travel with the relationship to energy, with the FUNDAMENTAL MOVEMENT OF ATHLETICsm; a motion of the hand. It will BECOME a pole swing on skis, and twist to an edge on a snowboard.
Why is it called the Fundamental Movement of Athleticssm ? Because it is the one movement that synchronizes the direction of travel with the relationship to energy. The ski or board will tip toward an edge that supports directional movements. From a right angle to the ski or board, and in the center of a functional range of motion, it is all that you have to do to ride or ski well.
If it is fundamental, it is true all the time, everywhere.
Our symbol is derived from a painting of God on the Sistene Chapel ceiling, created during the Renaissance. The Renaissance was the "new birth" of Greek art and statuary, modeled upon Olympic athletes. The artistic style was derived from the Greek Olympic experience.
It applies now as it did then. Learn to recognize the motion, and apply it to skiing and riding.
About: Pole Tipping. The Best Exercise To Improve Your Skiing, was the RIH based teaching progression demonstrated and used to pass level two certification, for the Professional Ski Instructors of America exam. Along with Pointing, and Tail of The Dolphin™, RIH methods were later used to prepare for and pass full international ski instructor certification, and receive International, ISIA, certification as well. Tom Moher pointed out that pole tipping engages both sides of the brain at the same time.
If you know what one hand is doing, but the other flies around changing the relationship between the two, this will help you keep correct that, and prepare you for an easy RIH poleswing.
About: The Universal Sequence of Motionsm, Spiraling to or from a right angle, initiated and patterned by pointing, the Fundamental Movement of Athletics™.
About: Cultural corrolaries. If we were in the East, we might be talking about Moving Hand from the Tao of Power as the Fundamental Movement from which the rest of the body flows.
Center of a Functional Range of Motion
Unuversal Principle of the Concave and Convex
Acknowledgement: The Muses
Certain people are associated with parts of this project. They triggered a thought, or their interest was the encouragement needed to focus on that part of the project.
This is the Ride In Harmony™ Ornstein edition - for Casey Ornstein, I was in Zele's coffee shop. trying to write the new opening line of this website. "Follow your heart up the rivers and roads, to the place where all movement is in harmony with energy from the Earth", on a piece of wax paper. Casey saw me and offered help in the form of something more conventional on which to write, and didn't make fun of me too much. That was 4/17/2005. April 17 is a day often chosen for the likely birth of Christ.
Doc LeFrock suggested the Three Questions of Skiing be put on to tee shirts. They have been and copyrighted.
Dawn, the Synonym for Light, lit up withthe mention of universals. So this part is for her and the Llamas she lives with.
Ride In Harmony™
"The Dance With Nature Is A Ride In Harmony™".
Ride The Snow In Harmony®
Branded method of instruction for skiers and snowboarders. Enhance athletic performance with concepts of harmony.
WHAT ANIMAL ARE YOU?®
Inspiration from the best athletes in nature, to enhance athletic instruction with concepts of harmony. WHAT ANIMAL ARE YOU?® ...Inspiration for athetes... Inspiration When You Ski. Epimetheus and Prometheus.
Ski In Harmony sm
Fly the skis with movement of the hands. An easier way to ski.
Simplicity, Brevity, Clarity
The RIH teaching method layers knowledge upon universal principles. The result is an easier way to ski and ride.
Shaped Teachings Athletic Testing Servicesm
A scientific approach to the evaluation of athletics. The first abstract proposed, is to test the effectiveness of teaching methods. Seen as a corollary to the Educational Testing Service or College Board.
With "Return to center force", our patented use of gravity to reseat a Telemark ski binding. This will make it easier than ever before to resume skiing, after a fall. Experience "the unbearable lightness of skiing", when "you and the equipment are the package".
Wind, Wave, and AQUA FIRMA™
"Science Serving The Spirit".
Natural sciences research. Also used for wind and water sports.
Former offices in Vail Run, Colorado, USA 2009-2010
Many thanks to the staff for our two wonderful years.
Other Trademarks and Copyright notices:
ACL Awareness Compliantsm
Experience the "Simplicity ,Brevity, and Clarity" of...
Layering knowledge upon universal principles
Mythical Beast of Crypto Science - opinion
The Ride In Harmony™ teaching method, Shaped Teachingsm is visually dominant. If one is blind, it is still spatially dominant. They are related. One example was gleened from a chair ride at Aspen Highlands with a teacher from Rifle, Co. who taught dyslexic children.
Words with a "wr" in them also had a twist; possibly from the ambient first language (my take): wrench, wrestle, write, maybe wrong, and wrist, which is used to point, as RIH applies it.
One side of the brain controls muscles on the other side of the body. That's hemispherical coordination. Part of the RIH method is based upon it. Teaching it was inumerated as one reasons that I got fired in Aspen. So that's Ride In Harmony™, and it's not PSIA.
The extension of the torso, and roll of the wrist as one points, creates a contrapposto relationship, or counter, through the body, which works in harmony with the roll of the corresponding joint of the lower body, the ankle, for it to naturally turn in the direction you are traveling and pointing. We teach that that the lower body mimics or moves in harmony with the upper.
There are a number of ways to apply the phenomena, but that's the way the body works.
In Chinese iconography the counterpart is "Moving Hand" from the Tao of power.
The people firing me said they were representing PSIA, acting at it's members behest, and held past and current offices in it at the time, so it must be true, that they believe as they do, that there is a neurological fact called "upper and lower body separation". The mythical beast of crypto-science.
No wonder then, with this type of thinking at the pinnacle of the industry, only 15-17 percent of people who start snowboarding and skiing continue.*
The content of instruction must rest on a firmer foundation than the authority of the people teaching it or the numbers aren't going to get better, any time soon. It also has to be vaild.
The current methods of instruction offered by a central body of belief don't offer relief from the hemmoraging of the clients, that your marketing departments, friends, neighbors, and family have introduced to skiing and snowboarding. And can't match the effectiveness of our proprietary methods, when the methods are not uniformly sound.
Ride In Harmony™, Ride The Snow In Harmony®, and Shaped Teachingsm do, or can in a coordinated effort. An easier way to ski and ride is more fun. People return for that.