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fasst edge transitions

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
I am a solid advanced (psia 8) skier looking to increase my ability to make very fast edge transitions in tight terrain without hopping.

Does anybody have any good drills or cues for this?

I picked up one idea on a lesson where the instructor laid down a straight line down the fall line and had me pole plant on the line with each turn. I am looking for other helpful ideas to learn to make very rapid edge transitions.

post #2 of 6

Try this on beginner terrain with nearly no pitch.  Be sure it is really flat because you are going to reach terminal velocity.  This should be a slope on which you can do a straight run all the way down without gaining enough speed to bother you one whit.  


Eyeball a tree at slope's end.  This is your target; keep your eyes on this tree the whole time, and your thoughts on it (oddly important for this drill).  Point your skis towards it, standing tall with your poles held comfortably.  Maintain a hip width stance.  If you are slightly knock-kneed, this won't work so well so be sure your knees are as far apart as your feet the whole run.  Push off and allow yourself to gain a little speed.


Now slowly and gently, while looking at that tree, tip both ANKLES to the left.  Wait; do nothing else but look at that tree.  Then tip both ankles to the right.  Wait, and stay intent on the tree.  Alternate all the way to the tree.  You should feel your skis moving forward fast on those tipped-up edges, carving purely.  If you successfully do nothing else but tip the skis and ride the edges (oddly difficult to do, unless you are focused on that tree), and if you are not on old straight skis, the skis will make turns that only slightly deviate from a straight line.  You will be going fast. 


Ride back up and do it again.  This time slightly flick your poles as if you were going to plant them, but don't.  All you are adding is a little wrist-flick of the poles; the arms stay stable.  Speed up the pole flicking a little and match the ankle tipping to the wrist action.  You'll feel a pulse from the skis out to the left followed by a pulse out to the right.  This pulse can get strong.  Your body will naturally accommodate the slightly-faster leftie-rightie motion of your skis by angulating where it needs to so you don't lose your balance.  This will just happen; you don't need to think about it.  Think only about tipping as fast as you are flicking, and keep your eyes on that tree.  You should be able to see pencil-thin lines in the snow.  If so, you are carving short radius turns.  This drill is called Railroad Tracks for obvious reasons. 


Do it again, lightly tapping the poles to the snow as you flick your wrists.  Then speed up the poles - the pole flick sets the speed of the turns.  When you can flick those poles very fast and tip those skis just as fast, you'll have your fast carved short radius turns.  


Once you can carve these fast "fall line turns," you are ready to slow down and add a little foot steering by rotating the feet around to complete the turns.  This will allow you to slow your descent should you need to avoid tight trees.   Work on this on the groomers before taking it to the trees.  Best of luck and have fun.

Edited by LiquidFeet - 2/27/12 at 7:58am
post #3 of 6

In what kind of situations do you need quicker transitions? Powder in tight trees, groomers, bumps or steep narrow chutes with firm corn?

What has helped me the most in getting faster trasitions, has been working on flexing during the transition. Kind of the very opposite of hopping;) I spent much of the preseson last season skiing manmade snow on short SL-skis while working on retraction turns, and when the powder finally arrived I felt that this really helped speeding up my transitions when skiing in tight trees. Owning the retraction turn movment, beeing able to flex and extend through a long range while staying in balance fore-aft and doing this independently of where you are in the turn makes more options avalible when it comes to turning where you want. When skiing tight trees with lots of "terrain" under the snow, this makes it easier to keep contact with the "ground" were you need to turn. If you need to get into the next turn quickly, it's is much quicker to end the previous turn by flexing and then extending into the new turn after changing edges, as opposed to ending the turn by extending, and then becomeing very ligth without the contact with the ground that you need to place the next turn quickly.

This works very well for powder in tight trees, groomers and bumpy terrain. Not sure how well it applies to steep terrain where you need a lot of speed control. Waiting for spring to find out:)


post #4 of 6

Go run some slalom.  It'll answer all your questions...

post #5 of 6

Start with a groomers width of a track, ski tight round turns in it, move to the side of a trail use the woods or race fencing as a boundary and again use the 1 track groomer width for turns, when you are doing that comfortably and with flow find a snowmobile track going down the mountain groomed trail, usually either ski patrol or mountain ops leave tracks all over the place and make turns in the width of the snowmobile track. You will need to get some fast feet to try and keep your skis in that track. Its all about quickness in the feet and legs turning under a very stable upper body , look at some top mogul skiing you will see what I mean.

post #6 of 6
If you want to make tight turns in a narrow corridor, you need to be able to steer your skis in a smaller arc than they are made to turn on edge. You want the skis to pivot under your feet, not around the tips. If you are a level 8 skier, find some long bumps or a long downhill ridge and sideslip while turning your feet from one side to the other. The tips and tails will be out of the snow. When you're comfortable with that, try the same sideslipping/turning action on a fairly steep groomer.
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