Originally Posted by RicB
There are a lot of nuances to both styles of wedge turns. And just relying on whether the legs are getting long or short together or at different times leave some important points out from my perspective.
For the long leg short leg lateral version it should not be as simple as just shortening one leg and lengthening the other. This can lead to pushing on the outside ski. I like to clarify that we are flattening the new inside ski releasing the edge as we flex the new inside leg. This sets up a more passive directional movement into the turn which is then accompanied by the new outside leg lengthening as the pressure builds on the outside ski and the turn develops. Steering should be continuous throughout the turn. Ankles are really working opposite to each other to varying degrees, with one closing (dorsi) as the other one opens (plantar).
The traditional vertical way, if I can call it that, would be to extend both legs at the same time creating the need for a deliberate active directional move into the turn and stronger steering movements to start the turn as well. Here ankles work more in unison, opening through the first half of the turn, and closing through the second half of the turn.
I have been instructed before that from a certification perspective when you have one ski flat the skier is no longer making a wedge turn, even if the skis remain in a wedge relationship. The ski's edges need to remain in an opposing relationship along with opposing position. I'll leave that one up to the examiners. we can reduce the edge without totally flattening the ski. From a teaching perspective I want to teach the common themes that a skier builds on as they move from beginner to expert? So, I need to include flattening the ski along with steering movements in a wedge turn?
Not sure if this is exactly where you wanted to go Bud, but these distinctions are important to me when talk of different ways to make a wedge turn comes up.
Good thoughts RicB!
If we are teaching expert movements in a wedge turn, then I think of the primary reason for flexion in a wedge turn is simply to balance against what small turning forces we encounter. This is done by moving slightly inside the turn by flexing the inside leg only enough to naturally balance just like we would tip unconsciously to the inside when riding a bicycle slowly around a turn. Using this lateral flexion we also create the strong inside half or appropriate counter for the speed and pitch. This then facilitates a functional extension to re-center and release of the turn, permitting the tips to seek the fall line aided by active steering of the feet. This method of flexion/extension also facilitates a matching of the inside ski into a christie. It is with this method we can simply 1) increase the speed 2) increase the pitch, or 3) narrow the wedge to achieve a matching of the skis. If we begin the turn with accurate movements the christie phase will be easy and natural rather than forced or mechanical.
Conversely, the arbitrary vertical flexion and extension I see some instructors demonstrating leads to the hips and shoulders squaring up or worse rotating ahead of the skis. This also leads to the dreaded reverse tip lead and edge locked inside ski, and active weight shifts with the upper body.
So my point is although the flexion/extension movements in a wedge turn are very subtle, it is important we understand and demonstrate the correct kind of flexion and extension which transfers into expert skiing. I think of flexion movements as being primarily lateral to balance against the turning forces which keeps the outside leg long and strong and full travel available for terrain absorption or releasing the turn.
Originally Posted by Tog
There is very little change in a wedge turn, but it's there and it's the same as a "normal" turn.
There will be flexion of both at the bottom of the turn, and a slight rise coming out.
There is a slight extension into the turn so yes it's more lateral - into the turn.
This can actually just be caused by the release of the inside ski into the turn, allowing the body to go inside, and now you've got long leg/short leg. There's not a lot of difference though since the speeds are very low and terrain flattish.
Inside will flex more.
Not getting to neutral before starting new turn leads to pushing and twisting.
The key is releasing the skis, which requires slight tipping.
If you do wedge turns slow enough, and get to neutral before starting the new turn, guiding the tips into the turn is natural and easy.
Going too fast will cause all sorts of problems.
What exactly is the question we are to discuss?
Agree with everything you say here Tog except perhaps with the highlighted text. I believe if we flex both equally at the bottom of the turn it causes an unwanted squaring of the hips. Yes it is a subtle difference but I believe key to positive progress!?
I am not so much flexing my ankles as I am balancing over the inside edge of the outside ski and the turning forces created which causes my uphill\inside leg to flex a bit (equalizing ankle flex). I don't feel there is any need to actively flex the ankles here? (When we are skiing in 130 and 150 flex boots, how much can we flex our ankles in a wedge turn?) Then simultaneously extending to re-center, releasing the turn and steering the ski tips into the fall line.
As we can see in Bob's POV camera view of the ski tips and the inside tip lead, the slight flexing of the inside leg and the simultaneous turning of both feet creates a slight counter. If he were flexing both legs equally would this same result occur?