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commitment to the turn

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

I'm sure there are terms for what I'm trying to discuss but I do not know them.

I'll try and explain - until this season I always had the feeling that I was riding on my skis with my COM carefully balanced over the ski or skis that I was pressuring to turn. I had the feeling of always being in control although I often was not in quite as much control as I expected to be.

This year I began to get my body out ahead of the skis (not closer to the tips but farther down the fall line) and commit my COM down the fall line while my skis were still moving across the fall line. I had the sensation of throwing myself down the hill and then catching up with my skis a beat or two later. I tried this on increasingly steep terrain and never did get myself so far out of position that my skis failed to "catch up" with my upper body. Maybe it was a feeling more like riding a motorcycle where you don't really turn the bike you just look, point and lean your body and the bike follows you.

I've had a lot of instruction and most of it focused on feet, knees and hips but more recently I've practically ignored them and seem to be skiing better.

I've looked for this in several ski books and on this site and have not found anything on the subject - probably because I don't know what to call it. I feel like my skiing has improved but I'm a little concerned I can't find any validation for this "upper body oriented" approach.

post #2 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by steveturner View Post

I've had a lot of instruction and most of it focused on feet, knees and hips but more recently I've practically ignored them and seem to be skiing better.

 

Could this focus be the basis for your discovery? Are you moving your left hip towards the tip of your right ski to turn left?

post #3 of 22

How are you measuring "better" as it relates to one method vs the other?

 

What you are describing sounds like leading the turn with inclination.

 

http://www.youcanski.com/en/coaching/incline-to-win.htm

post #4 of 22

June 2, 2011

 

Hi Steve:

 

I can't help myself, but your description sounds so much like Bob Barnes well known "medicine ball".  Hopefully, Bob will jump in at the appropriate Colorado time, and either confirm this as well as fleshing it out or disavow my heresey, but in the mean time, I am providing you a link to his nicely done animation so that you can determine whether this is akin to what you have been doing:

 

http://vimeo.com/18344164

 

Think snow,

 

CP

 

ps: are you sure it wasn't the other way around.  skis ahead of the body?

 

 


Edited by CharlieP - 6/2/11 at 12:19pm
post #5 of 22

The dual paths idea suggests reasonably contemporaneous arcs but to be honest if you are feeling the need to huck the body (CM) over and across the skis (accelerate it to catch up and pass the feet) something else is occurring. You're slowing it down too much somewhere else in the turn. Don't get me wrong the "huck the body", or it's cousin "pull the feet back" are great corrective moves. Although if either are an "always" move, I would be looking at why and where you are allowing your body to slow down so much. Bob has a pet saying about the feet needing to pass the body through the transition. Is that because we suddenly accelerate the feet, or is it a natural event due to them traveling along a longer path?

Let's look at both foot and body accelerations seperately for a minute. If we accelerate the feet, again the back end question becomes where and when do we slow them down? Their longer path will take care of some of this but as the feet turn out of the fall line they will naturally lose some speed both forward and downhill. If we accelerate them at that point, how does this affect the speed control aspect of the slow line fast model?

So how about the body huck? Once we've done that do we slow it down, or simply accelerate the feet to catch and pass the body? If it's the latter when does this top out? We simply cannot alway be accelerating.

 

So a conundrum exists when all we talk about is alway accelerating, terminal velocity says at some point acceleration stops. Considering how few folks actually ski that fast something more has to be occuring. Friction across the contact patch and wind resistance explain some of this but how do you explain the rest?

 

So how does commitment to the new turn fit into this post? Well I am asking the OP and everyone else to slow down (sic) and back away from the alway accelerate mantra. Perhaps the commitment to the new turn needs to be seen as an ongoing combination of accelerating and slowing down. Over doing either is detrimental to your skiing..... 

 

post #6 of 22

Steve,

 

If you are looking for terms ....

 

It starts with a slight "extension" into the new turn. This can lead to "inclination" and "angulation".

 

What you are experiencing is when the path of the center of the mass starts to differ significantly from the path of the skis. This is often called "dynamic" parallel instead of a normal or skidded parallel turn. It is why people get so hyped up when talking about "carving".

post #7 of 22

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by steveturner View Post

....

 

I'll try and explain - until this season I always had the feeling that I was riding on my skis with my COM carefully balanced over the ski or skis that I was pressuring to turn. I had the feeling of always being in control although I often was not in quite as much control as I expected to be.

 

This year I began to get my body out ahead of the skis (not closer to the tips but farther down the fall line) and commit my COM down the fall line while my skis were still moving across the fall line.  ....

 

Hi Steve--I think you are on the precipice of a huge breakthrough in your skiing, on several fronts. Your first paragraph that I quoted suggests that you have discovered another dimension to "balance"--quite literally. I call it, "Balancing in the Fourth Dimension"--which is, of course, the dimension of "Time." "Riding my skis with my COM carefully balanced over the ski or skis [the 'base of support,' if I may]..." suggests balance in three dimensions--the three planes of fore-aft, left-right, and up-down. But the turn transition that you're discovering involves the freedom of moving now (that is, in the transition or "float phase") for balance later, when you re-establish pressure and your base of support in the "pressure phase" of the new turn. You've discovered that you can do things in the transition that may not be, at that moment, "balanced positions," but that will allow you to reconnect with your feet later in perfect balance, for a perfect, "early," clean edge engagement and carve.

 

It's the question that we've discussed here before--if we define balance in the simplest terms as the relationship between your support point and your center of mass, then can you be "out of balance" when you're in the air (when there is no base of support)? "Yes," is the near-unanimous reply of advanced aerialists. "But how would you know?" I ask. "You'll know when you land," they reply. My point exactly--when you're airborne, you cannot be in--or out of--balance "now," but there are critical movements and attributes of your position that must occur if you are to be balanced later--when you land. Balance in the fourth dimension. It's one of the keys to a great transition--particularly to "commitment to the turn."

 

---

 

Then, your second paragraph goes on: "I began to get my body out ahead of the skis (not closer to the tips but farther down the fall line) and commit my COM down the fall line while my skis were still moving across the fall line. ...." That's a beautiful statement that does, indeed (as CharlieP points out) express what I've tried to demonstrate with the "medicine ball" analogy in the Transitions video clip:

 

 
The transition between turns--the lighter "float phase" between the pressured, carved phases of two turns--gives you all sorts of opportunities. With the "fourth dimension" idea, it gives your skis (future base of support) the time and opportunity to zip across to the other side and get into the optimal position to "recatch" your body (center of mass) so they can begin to redirect it in the new pressure phase. As you've said, your body moves downhill of ("ahead of" in one respect) your feet in the transition--"committing to the turn." But your feet must move ahead of your body in another respect, to get across to the other side for a smooth re-engagement and carve. As you've discovered (but in contradiction to much of the dogmatic advice that floats around "out there"), your body does not need to move necessarily "closer to your tips" in the transition--and in many great turns, it's quite the opposite!
 
Beginning and Nothingness
My only concern in your first post--which JASP also alluded to--is your next sentence: "I had the sensation of throwing myself down the hill...." My concern is that, IF (big if!) you have truly done everything optimally in the latter part of the previous turn, your body will be already moving in the right direction, and there will be no need to "throw" it--or to expend any energy or effort whatsoever to merely let it happen. The sensation will be not of any particular effort, but of true effortlessness, as you literally float from one turn to the next--like the medicine ball when airborne in my video. Yes, there is some "throwing" involved, but it should take place--and end--long before the new turn begins. 
 
Perhaps the search for this effortless "nothingness" to start your turn should be your next quest. You are certainly on the right track, and you'll know it when you find it! (You have probably already found it a few times, and exhilarated at how effortlessly and cleanly that turn flowed from the last. You may have wondered how you did that--what you "did" to start that awesome turn. Now you know--NOTHING!)
 
Best regards,
Bob
post #8 of 22

 

Quote:
I feel like my skiing has improved but I'm a little concerned I can't find any validation for this "upper body oriented" approach.

Is it really an "upper body oriented" approach, or is simply now "balanced"? 

 

I have often said that our movements may begin with--and our focus can be on--our feet--if and only if our center of mass is in the right place, and moving with the right velocity (speed and direction). I think you've discovered that second condition, which will allow you more than ever to focus again on your feet. Where (exactly) do I want my feet to go, and which direction do I want them pointing along that path? That's usually my main focus when I'm skiing. But I can only do that effectively if I'm in balance--which means, my body is in the right place and moving the right way.

 

Unlike most things we do in life, where our feet and legs compensate for whatever we want to do with our hands and upper bodies, in skiing, our upper bodies are slaves to our feet. In most things, most people don't care or even know what their feet are doing. In skiing, our lives--and certainly, our control and pleasure--depend on having absolute freedom and precision to do whatever we want with our feet, as much as possible, while our upper bodies compensate.

 

Upper body discipline--that's what frees our feet!

 

Best regards,

Bob

post #9 of 22

Conservation of momentum is an idea that allows us to direct the core and the feet along their paths and find that nothingness zone. 

post #10 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by steveturner View Post

.

I've had a lot of instruction and most of it focused on feet, knees and hips but more recently I've practically ignored them and seem to be skiing better.

I've looked for this in several ski books and on this site and have not found anything on the subject - probably because I don't know what to call it. I feel like my skiing has improved but I'm a little concerned I can't find any validation for this "upper body oriented" approach.



I feel that I'm in a similar place, like I learned things that I almost forget at this stage.  

Its as if I couldn't have gotten the sensation of balance and my COM going down the fall line if I hadn't put the other pieces of the puzzle in place first.

 

post #11 of 22

Lessons and drills are great for improving ones skill level and fun factor. But there is a lot to be said for just going out there and skiing. Otherwise you can get barn soured.;-)

post #12 of 22

 If you want to improve always be working on something, even if its something small. Well, unless you are already perfect.

 

post #13 of 22

Steve

 

I can appreciate your sensations.

 

I have had many pleasant turns following my head down the hill ;-)

 

To analyze: If resistance is released just as the forces in the turn peak, (relax the out side leg) all the body parts (Head included) flow down hill.  The feet and legs have no choice but to keep up!

 

It's not like slowing and then casting one's self head long,  It is more like "committing" to the act of moving down the mountain.

 

I can relate!  And I like it!

post #14 of 22

Steve,

From your description it seems to me that you are just discovering "separation".  You are not doing anything wrong, although you don't have to huck your body down the hill to feel the effects of allowing your skis path to uncouple a little more from your center of mass' path.  You can continue to control your skis and their path, but give them a little more leash, like walking a dog, the leash doesn't have to be tight all the time if you control the dog, and your legs don't have to be maintaining that balanced force you have become used to all the time.  Play with it.  It's all good.  While your at it try to vary your turns a bit too.  Turn up the hill, down the hill, sideways, every which way including loose.


Edited by Ghost - 6/4/11 at 5:58pm
post #15 of 22

Isn't the OP simply describing a Cross-Over Transition as opposed to Cross Under?(down unweighting)

 

I definetly see 2 different transitions being used in the Nor Am portion of Bob's video.

 

Some transitions where the upper body seems to be actually held back as the feet accelerate to the other side under the upper body by contracting the knees and then; Crossover, which has been described in detail already.

 

 


Edited by Atomicman - 6/4/11 at 7:52pm
post #16 of 22

So where are you looking? Gosh, the idea of the whole (as in entire) body participating in our balancing activities has been around for quite some time. Yes our contact point is a very important element but that doesn't mean the rest of the body takes the day off. Far from it! I can understand the misunderstanding when we say we should have a quite and stable upper body but to be honest we don't say static, or immobile. So if you find yourself hucking, or pulling and pushing the feet around a lot I would strongly suggest you are letting something get static instead of allowing it to move unimpeded along it's path. To be fair some maneuvers will include a small bit of that but overall static stances are so detrimental to the contemporaneous quality we see among good skiers. If you use a brief static stance have a good reason for using it but quickly get back to flowing down the hill as much as possible before it mucks up your turns.

post #17 of 22

Without seeing Steve ski, how can anyone make a specific suggestion?

post #18 of 22

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bob Barnes View Post

I have often said that our movements may begin with--and our focus can be on--our feet--if and only if our center of mass is in the right place, and moving with the right velocity (speed and direction).


icon14.gif

 

Well said. All this talk about how skiing starts at the feet and all movements are done in a kinetic chain up the body is just one approach among many. And an overly focus on the legs can be very confusing as proven by the OP. On the other hand there is nothing that proves that he is now skiing more "correctly". Skiatansky, isnt it amazing....

 

 

post #19 of 22
Thread Starter 

I appreciate the advice but unfortunately I don't understand some of this terminology. I do understand and relate to the "medicine ball". I have Mr. Barnes' book so I am familiar with his terminology. As to "where I'm looking" I'm usually looking down the hill but I guess it varies depending on the conditions. Sometimes I look far ahead and sometimes I'm looking at the side of the next bump or next tree. I do not know about  slight "extension" into the new turn or "inclination" and "angulation". I do not know if "I'm left hip towards the tip of your right ski to turn left". I can not find "seperation", "huck your body", "kenetic chain" or some of these other terms defined so I'm not sure I understand them in the context of skiing. Please don't take this as a complaint. It's up to me to get up to speed on the terminology. I've had similar problems with golf instruction and communication with golf pros. I'll search these terms and see if I can follow the suggestions.

Thanks again,

Steve

post #20 of 22

huck your body = "throwing myself down the hill"

 

separation in the sense I used it = the idea that your skis and your centre of mass can have different and somewhat independent flight paths, which though linked, can still have a degree of independence.  Not quite the same as upper body - lower body separateion, but the concept has something in common with it.

post #21 of 22



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by steveturner View Post

I'm sure there are terms for what I'm trying to discuss but I do not know them.

I'll try and explain - until this season I always had the feeling that I was riding on my skis with my COM carefully balanced over the ski or skis that I was pressuring to turn. I had the feeling of always being in control although I often was not in quite as much control as I expected to be.

This year I began to get my body out ahead of the skis (not closer to the tips but farther down the fall line) and commit my COM down the fall line while my skis were still moving across the fall line. I had the sensation of throwing myself down the hill and then catching up with my skis a beat or two later. I tried this on increasingly steep terrain and never did get myself so far out of position that my skis failed to "catch up" with my upper body. Maybe it was a feeling more like riding a motorcycle where you don't really turn the bike you just look, point and lean your body and the bike follows you.

I've had a lot of instruction and most of it focused on feet, knees and hips but more recently I've practically ignored them and seem to be skiing better.

I've looked for this in several ski books and on this site and have not found anything on the subject - probably because I don't know what to call it. I feel like my skiing has improved but I'm a little concerned I can't find any validation for this "upper body oriented" approach.


I was referring to where you are looking for information, Steve. Not where you are looking as you ski. The dual paths idea is elemental to the medicine ball analogy BTW. The feet scribe a different path than the Core. When you allow both to follow their path with as little braking as possible a bit of a crack the whip phenomenon occurs. Although a golf club analogy is probably a bit more accurate. The club head whips around at around 100mph while the hands don't move nearly that quickly. If you slow down the wrists trying to whip the club through the contact point faster you lose power and club head speed. What isn't obvious is that the hips and knees contribute to that power as well even though they may only move a few inches. Just like in tennis, it's not the arms where power is created, it's produced in the core. Footwork is important but hardly the whole story. That's the problem with the kinetic chain ideas, they imply that the body is briefly static, or somehow lagging behind what the feet do. Nothing could be further from reality, it all has to work simultaneously together to produce good balance. BTW, I can't tell you how many skiers I work with who don't move their hips towards the next turn. Curing that lack of commitment doesn't mean throwing our torso downhill like a sack of potatoes though. It means allowing it to migrate in a smooth continuous way, instead of a stacatto start and stop way.

 

 

Skiatansky, I don't think anyone has prescribed anything here. We've tried to explain the dual paths concept and how the entire body needs to participate in our balancing activities. Beyond that Steve is who offered that he feels he is skiing better because of this new focus. The fact that he is aware of the entire body participating is an epiphany and I for one want to celebrate that epiphany with him rather than MA his performance.   
 

 

post #22 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Atomicman View Post

Isn't the OP simply describing a Cross-Over Transition as opposed to Cross Under?(down unweighting)

 

I definetly see 2 different transitions being used in the Nor Am portion of Bob's video.

 

Some transitions where the upper body seems to be actually held back as the feet accelerate to the other side under the upper body by contracting the knees and then; Crossover, which has been described in detail already.

 

 



Yes, two different transitions. And everything in between (blend of both).

 

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