Background: I first presented preliminary prototypes of the Ski Control System to several Lake Tahoe ski schools during the 1988 ski season. Several ski school directors and/or their senior instructors skied on SCS equipped skis and evaluated this new invention. The potential of the SCS to provide enhanced control for beginning skiers was generally well received and I was encouraged to keep improving the product. As the SCS prototypes evolved over the 1989 and 1990 seasons and I continued to give demonstrations with SCS equipped skis, several ski school directors encouraged me to obtain an official evaluation by the national office of the Professional Ski Instructors of America (PSIA).
I contacted the national PSIA office in the fall of 1990 and they generously agreed to evaluate the SCS. I shipped National PSIA a set of our 1991 ski season SCS equipped skis and in February 1991 I was delighted to receive the following evaluation from Mr. Max Lundberg, Director PSIA Educational Foundation. I believe Mr. Lundberg's evaluation was both completely honest and very perceptive. Following Mr. Lundberg's letter I have provided a few embellishing comments.
1) Max noted the SCS benefits in hard snow conditions which is an important safety benefit for many recreational skiers of average athletic ability who have considerable difficulty maintaining control under icy (i.e. hard snow) conditions.
2) Max astutely notes that although the first effect skiers notice is that the SCS slows them down, its best use is to help skiers learn basic turns so that they can safely maneuver on the ski runs and learn to control their speed through turning.
3) Clearly millions of skiers have learned to ski with the present equipment and therefore average skiers do not need the SCS. This comment leaves the door open that less than average skiers and even average skiers might find the SCS quite beneficial which is exactly what our first student comments from beginning SCS lessons at Heavenly Ski Resort showed two years later (Feb and March 1993).
4) Max notes that the SCS could help handicapped skiers. I tried for several years afterwards using his endorsement to obtain SCS use at several handicapped ski schools but I was unsuccessful.
5) Max was not the only ski professional to raise the concern that the enhanced control provided by the SCS could create a dependence that might delay edging skill development. The SCS control probes work like control surfaces on an airplane to provide enhanced control (via supplemental drag lift and turning torques). Therefore while the SCS works by edging the ski, at the beginning and lower intermediate skill levels a skier does not need to edge the ski as much to achieve control due to the combined effects of edge control and SCS control probe control. The flood of student comments from the 1993 through 1996 ski season have I believe closed this "dependence" issue. These students reported that the SCS increased their sense of confidence and enabled them both to better enjoy their skiing experience and to persevere in their skiing skill development.
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