Apex to Apex :
A Way to Think of Lateral Weight Transfers when Dealing with Forces in Skiing
By Nick Herrin
A truly versatile skier can manage continually changing forces. Forces build up more on one ski, then the other. The skier handles this by a lateral weight transfer from foot to foot. Traditionally, people make this weight transfer too quickly, at the transition phase of the turn where the skis change edges or are most across the hill. Instead, try a more progressive weight transfer, one that lasts from apex to apex.
To start, I should describe what I mean by apex. The apex is the outer most point of the arc, where your skis are pointed directly down the fall line. The reason I am having you think about your lateral weight transfer developing from apex to apex is to help you match the naturally occurring forces building up between skis and the snow. In this turn, think of pressure equalizing at each apex.
The apex-to-apex turn is one that can help upper level dynamic parallel skiers understand how to better control the forces that they are working with. When first trying this exercise, start on a blue groomed run with a medium to large radius turn. The size of the turn will allow you to be patient in each phase of the turn allowing you to complete the progressive weight transfer.
When trying out the apex-to-apex turn, think of the turn beginning at one apex and finishing at the next apex. At the apex, weight is equally distributed between feet and more pressure starts to naturally build on the outside ski. This will help you to create a strong balanced stance to absorb the new forces that will be built up after the apex. Gradually flex your inside leg more than your outside leg, allowing more forces to build on your outside ski. As your skis start to cross the fall line, start to release the forces that are built up against your skis by steering your legs and rolling your joints down the hill, changing edges. Here, start to collapse your outside, downhill leg, and begin extending your inside, uphill leg. This will move your center of mass in the direction of travel and create a moment where your skis feel lighter. After the edge change, your legs will start to extend and continually steer into the next apex.
As your skis travel into the next apex, weight will progressively and naturally build on the next outside ski, returning to equal distribution between legs at the apex. This movement is very similar to a late weight transfer turn.
Remember, don't step all at once onto that new outside ski. If you do this, it will break the momentum we want to use to move into the next turn. Be gradual with this move so that you can feel the equal pressuring of skis at the apex of the turn. Once you have a good grasp of the apex-to-apex move, you will find that you will be able to take this move from groomed runs into crud and powder to make a stronger and more fluid medium radius turn.
I think about the weight transfer occurring at the apex of the turn because it is matching the timing of forces that are naturally building up on the skis. If you match your weight transfer with the intensity of forces that are naturally created by the turn shape, you will have a much more dynamic and fluid turn. This will allow you to move continuously through a turn and from leg to leg. Weight transfer will match the duration and intensity of whatever turns you are making. In the end, work with forces and not against them.