Lito Tejda-Flores?

Discussion in 'Ski School' started by Bruno Schull, Apr 28, 2018.

  1. Bruno Schull

    Bruno Schull Booting up Skier

    Aug 24, 2017
    Hi Everybody,

    My wife and I both injured our knees this season. We are currently sharing time on the sofa with ice packs on our knees, dreaming of next season (see my other posts about our injuries if you want to hear our sad tales).

    Both of us want to improve our technique next season, to reduce the chances of falling and injuring ourselves. We are fairly competent skiers, on and off piste, but we both could improve enormously, and neither of us has had any formal instruction.

    A friend gave us a copy of Lito Tejada-Flores' book, "Soft Skiing." I'm almost done with the book, and the advice generally seems sensible and wise. I'm considering buying one of his other books "Breakthrough on the New Skis" to absorb more lessons.

    What's the word on the street (ski hill?) about his general approach and methods? He seems somewhat old school, but, at the same time, creative and a little different. I like that.

    Is it worth the investment of time and energy to try to put some of his principles into play on the slopes?

    Thoughts/comments/ideas? Other resources?

    (As a side note, one of my other posts was a query about finding good hands-on ski instructors in Europe. I'm assembling a library of recommendations, and we will definitely combine any book reading we do with one-on-one instruction.)

    OK, thanks,

  2. dj61

    dj61 Booting up Skier

    Feb 25, 2017
    Much of what Lito teaches can be found in pmts, I guess.
  3. Fuller

    Fuller T shirts & flip flops... Skier

    Feb 18, 2016
    Whitefish or Florida
    Well the new skis have been around for a while now so in that respect the new skis are old school. But that doesn't change the fact that precise effective turns are less punishing and more fun than fighting your way down the hill. If you like his instruction style, learn from it as much as you can. But since you say you have never had any formal instruction I would read all summer and find the right instructor next winter.

    Also: I've had wonky knees since I was 30, they work the best when I pay attention to my hip strength and mobility. Lots of simple exercises to do that will really bullet proof your knees. Seems odd but it works.
  4. Steve

    Steve // Skier

    Nov 13, 2015
    Lito is a national treasure. I agree with Fuller that finding a great instructor will still be needed, but there's little that you'll learn from Lito that you'll need to unlearn should you find one who disagrees with a point or two. He is not PMTS, although he used to be close to Harald Harb and use him on his videos, so there are many similarities.
  5. newboots

    newboots Atop Killington Peak Skier

    Dec 9, 2016
    The content of the books is very similar; he write this in the forward or somewhere. I like his books, but I wished I'd only bought one.

  6. LiquidFeet

    LiquidFeet Out on the slopes Instructor

    Nov 12, 2015
    New England
    If anyone can describe skiing in words without getting boring, Lito can. He learned to ski as an adult, and promptly became an enthusiast and instructor.

    Many ski instructors who write books and make instructional videos have been skiing all their lives. They cannot remember how they learned before they reached middle school. Even if they could it would be different process from learning as an adult.

    Lito deliberately addresses an adult's emotional state as an intermediate skier encountering new movement patterns. So it's not so much what he teaches as how he describes it. You can sense his empathy in his writings. Buy the two books, take notes, and enjoy!
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2018
    flbufl, RickyG, Superbman and 5 others like this.
  7. cosmoliu

    cosmoliu Out on the slopes Skier

    Dec 6, 2015
    Central CA Coast
    Lito's Breakthrough book was hugely influential to me in the 80s when I was first learning (And the learning hasn't stopped, of course) to ski and I was devouring all the information I could find. I highly recommend the book. And his three videos. One caveat might be that his emphasis on weighting the downhill ski 100% is now passé- that applied to and was necessary for the old, straight skis of that time. All of the rest of his material is timeless.
    jack97 likes this.
  8. Fishbowl

    Fishbowl A Parallel Universe Skier

    Apr 29, 2017
    Here are Lito's video series. Dated, but still relevant.

    1chris5, newboots, cosmoliu and 3 others like this.
  9. jack97

    jack97 Getting off the lift Skier

    Jul 7, 2017
    Not to be argumentative but downhill weighting and single leg balance has become even more important given most don't need to learn this with modern skis to progress. Most skiers I see off piste; meaning bumps and glades lack that single leg balance.
  10. Dave Petersen

    Dave Petersen Graphic Designer/Vintage Gear Historian Admin

    Nov 16, 2015
    I own a few of his videotapes/DVDs, and the single leg balance is what I really took away from those -- holding your inside ski ever so slightly off the snow.
    newboots likes this.
  11. Tony S

    Tony S aka qcanoe Skier

    Nov 14, 2015
    Like @LiquidFeet, and @cosmoliu, I'm another fan of the original Breakthrough book and Lito in general, from back in the day. I've been around.

    @Bruno Schull's post is much like others I've seen here. My commentary is about them as a group; it's not really about Bruno's situation specifically.

    There's something that rankles a little about these threads. And of course there's a lot I relate to, or I wouldn't respond. ogsmile

    The part I relate to is, perhaps obviously, "Been there." I want my skiing to be of a piece with the historical continuum that I've studied and have an affection for and in fact have been a part of for fifty years. For example, @Doug Briggs's family was an enabler in my own family's skiing life, going back to my very first days on skis. I remember when wedeln was the big thing.

    The part that rankles is the part that seems to me to say, "I want to learn to ski really well and efficiently on today's gear, but I don't actually want to have to die and be reborn to do it." My response to this is, "Sorry, but you can't have your cake and eat it too." Sure, if you're Killy or Lito, you don't have to start over, because your fundamentals are superb and you have tons of time to throw at the thing and you're skiing with other gods all the time and etc., etc., etc. But you are not Killy and I am not Lito.

    So here is just one suggestion. Following it, by itself, obviously won't overhaul your skiing. But it will help.

    You need to forget what you think good skiing looks like. It doesn't look like that anymore. This matters because you have to have a vision - a mental model. Do whatever you have to do to watch a whole lot of contemporary ski racing. Watch Bob Barnes and his peers. Watch McGlashan and Beaulieu and whomever else the talking heads here who are instructors tell you to watch. @razie, for example. Watch that stuff over and over. Don't listen to your friends; they're clueless, almost certainly. Internalize, through visual repetition, what a great modern turn looks like.

    Ski with great skiers, not just your regular buddies. Get yourself a pair of short radius carving skis, a bunch of lessons from a top instructor, and make it your own. Good luck!
    newboots, KingGrump, dbostedo and 2 others like this.
  12. cosmoliu

    cosmoliu Out on the slopes Skier

    Dec 6, 2015
    Central CA Coast
    Totally right. The use of "passé" in my post was rushed and poorly expressed.
  13. Jerez

    Jerez Out on the slopes Skier

    Nov 25, 2015
    New Mexico
    Skied with Lito back in the day. Great stuff. His bumps video was a huge help in first ventures off piste.

    What ever happened to him? He lived in the San Luis Valley near Crestone as I recall, but one doesn't hear from him anymore.
  14. dbostedo

    dbostedo Asst. Gathermeister-- Jackson Hole 2020 Moderator Team Gathermeister

    Feb 9, 2016
    Northern Virginia, USA
    A related anecdote... I was at Taos this past season in a ski week, with pretty much nothing but groomers open. So the stated goal for the week was to improve fundamentals needed for steeps and bumps - and we spent one of the 6 lessons doing one-legged drills.
    Started at 53 likes this.
  15. RickyG

    RickyG Getting on the lift Skier

    Aug 12, 2016
    Littleton Colorado
    Well said...there is more to skiing than physical...Lito finds the zen of enjoying your skiing not fighting with it. I too enjoy the books and go back to them.
    LiquidFeet, newboots and Mendieta like this.
  16. Bolder

    Bolder Getting on the lift Skier

    Dec 1, 2017
    Confession: Breakthrough on Skis was in our bathroom. That means that when I was a preteen/teen, I read it several times, but a page and a half at a time. ;)
    Sibhusky and cosmoliu like this.

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