By Dan Egan EBS Contributor
Ron LeMaster, author, trainer, ski instructor, photographer and winter sports icon died on November 30 in a collision with a snowboarder in Eldora Mountain, Colorado. He was 72 years old. The news of his death shook the winter
world of sport.
LeMaster has left a major imprint on skiing with his photography and analysis of ski technique. He has been a frequent keynote speaker and presenter for the United States Coaching Academy hosted by US Ski & Snowboard, Professional Ski Instructors of America, and international ski conventions such as the 6th International Ski and Science Congress, as well as countless ski and ski schools. teams around the world.
His subjects ranged from rethinking motion analyzes, mechanics and techniques for minimum radius turns, lateral balance, seeing skiing: developing a good eye, to trends in modern alpine skiing and beyond.
LeMaster was a master observer of movement and always related to conditions and body type. His use of multi-frame photography was revolutionary in sports. By taking 10-12 frames per second, LeMaster could break down the position of skiers going around a race gate or making a bumpy turn and look at the movement patterns, as he did in his book “The Skier’s Edge” published by Human Kinetics in 1999.
In his first chapter of his book “Skiing from the Snow Up”, LeMaster highlights a fundamental observation: “Skiing is a sport of strength and momentum. When skiing is good, it is the forces that do good. He then illustrated this by drawing comparisons between world ski champion Hermann Maier and Olympic mogul skier Sara Kjellin. He broke down their movements, momentum and forces between their skis and the icy race track and bumpy mogul race to illustrate center of mass and similar movements between two different disciplines.
Nick Herrin, CEO of PSIA, said: “One of Ron’s biggest impacts has been understanding the different phases and how skiing is broken down, from a general perspective for a lot of people. was at the forefront of understanding.
LeMaster’s last article he wrote for PSIA was titled “Rethinking Motion Analysis”, with subsections including: “There is no one, the best type of turn – there are many”. , “There is no one, the best type of ski ski performance – there is a lot” and “there is no one, the best combination of body movements – there is a lot.”
“This is one of the best tech articles I’ve ever read in a very long time,” Herrin said. “He was an icon for his contribution to snow sports. “
One of LeMaster’s key traits was curiosity. With him it was always about how a skier performs a turn using the angle of the hips, but another skier with a different body type can perform the same turn using more knee. He has never been locked into one method of skiing over another; his mind was open and he loved to watch how many ways something could be accomplished.
“He was a software engineer, a computer programmer, it was his main job, everything he did in skiing was his side job, he was one of the most intellectual and inquisitive people I have ever had known, “said the former editor of Ski Area Management magazine. and close friend of LeMaster Rick Kahl. “He could strike up a conversation with a 10-year-old about how skateboards work, then shift gears, strike up a conversation with a philosopher about the meaning of life, and also be engaged in both conversations. He never had a problem to solve, he was more motivated by what he could learn.
He is the author of three books, the first “The Skier’s Edge” is a technical book on movement, ski strengths and equipment. LeMaster’s second book “The Essential Guide to Skiing” (2004) is an information encyclopedia that covers everything you need to know about skiing, a wealth of advice for all skill levels. “Ultimate Skiing,” (2009) his third book, examined the new shape of skis and “examines real-world skiing in specific types of terrain and snow. ”
He filled a void in ski teaching and training that is often left blank by the self-proclaimed “Experts” and “Gurus” of the sport.
PSIA-AASI National Team Coach Jeb Boyd said: “I loved his calm but confident demeanor, his deep knowledge of our sport, he embraced the idea of the fundamentals and the way they can be performed in a unique way from athlete to athlete, which has become easy to understand thanks to its images. and had an easy way of it when he talked about skiing. It was the basis of his latest book “Ultimate Skiing”.
There is no doubt that LeMaster’s impact will be long lasting and will be sadly missed by the international ski community. His legacy should encourage all of us to be curious and judgment-free learners on as many levels as possible.
AJ Oliver, training supervisor at Big Sky Resort, summed up his impact saying, “I only had the chance to meet him once, I never had the chance to ski with him, but I will always remember it. [his] smile from ear to ear.
Read more about Ron’s passing from PSIA here.
A pioneer of extreme skiing, Dan Egan trains and teaches at Big Sky Resort during the winter. His 2022 Steep Hill Camps at the Big Sky Resort run February 24-26, March 10-12, and March 17-19. His latest book, “Thirty Years in a White Haze” was released in March 2021 and is available at www.White-Haze.com.