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skiing the serpentine

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 

got no video footage but will try and get some, my i phone is always steamed up when i try to take video or photos when skiing,

however, im doing something wrong whilst skiing the serpentine, i feel when it gets steeper and icier that my skis are no longer in full control and instead of biting to check the speed and hold for that fraction of a second before rebounding in to the next turn they sort of skid and slide,

any ideas for drills and advice

cheers bears

post #2 of 23
Ice and hard snow require a gentler approach -- cat on a hot roof, not bull in a china shop. Don't apply pressure until you feel the edge is engaged, and get on the edge earlier (higher) in the turn than you think. Use only enough pressure and edge angle to hold your line. You probably need to use less pressure, less edge angle, and earlier engagement of the edge than you imagine.
post #3 of 23

If you can't see a quarter an inch under the surface, it's not icy.

 

There must be a thousand threads on skiing ice. Did you try searching?

You might find this one:

http://www.epicski.com/t/96337/ice-advice-please

 

 

post #4 of 23
Thread Starter 

I think I've been misunderstood, when I say serpentine, I'm referring to what you USA folk call short swings, I have no problem skiing firmer icy conditions in short radius medium radius and long radius turns when I set my edges to carve tracks, it's just the short swings I know I'm doing something technically wrong because my skis aren't as fully in control as they should be (ie side slipping). Don't get me wrong I'm not in any danger of killing myself and will cope with most pitch and conditions but I know something is fundamentally wrong with my short swing technique

post #5 of 23

Without video, it could be anything, but start by making sure the upper body is strong and stable.

post #6 of 23

Awesome Rossy!

 

There are two elements involved here: edge engagement and edge hold. 

 

"Short swing" has not been a "current" turn here in the USA in many years. I think of it as an edge set to an up unweight with edge change and direction change in mid air followed by an edge set in the new direction with a steady flow of the upper body down the fall line. I've never seen anyone do this on ice without skidding. Short swing turns require extremely quick edge engagement. When the skis are not pointed in the same direction as the body's direction of travel, this task is virtually impossible on ice on any significant pitch.

 

Now if you really mean short radius turn, the first thing to consider is that if the turn is shorter than the carving radius of the ski (adjusted for any ski bend occuring) then by definition there must be some skidding to make that short a turn. Assuming you know that and your complaint is about skidding and loss of control above and beyond that; and given that your question specifically refers to steeper terrain and suspects technique issues my guess would be the cause is not rounding out the top of the turn (i.e. engaging the new inside edges above the fall line) due to lack of aggressiveness getting the body to the inside of the new turn above the fall line.

 

Your skis are going to be a big factor in determining how much edge hold is possible on icy terrain. I'll assume that you know enough to keep your edges sharpened, that you've consciously chosen specific edge bevel angles and that you're not going to change skis to get the optional flex pattern for skiing on firmer snow for your technique. The hardness of the ice is going to determine how much force the surface will support (ok - this is a crude over simplification). Your speed, the steepness of the terrain and the shape of your turn (i.e. how much speed control you want) are going to determine how much total force needs to be distributed over the length of the turn. For a given size turn, your technique is going to determine if the force you are applying to the skis at any point in the turn is going to exceed either what the skis or the surface will support. Changing tactics (e.g. shallower turns more down the fall line, longer radius turns, doing skid to carve vs carve to skid) is another option. The bottom line here is that there are a lot of factors involved. Changing one or more of those factors can get you the results you are looking for. Changing technique is the hardest factor to change. Helping someone change technique without being able to see it is even harder.

 

Get video! Even video on soft snow would be helpful.

 

 

post #7 of 23


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheRusty View Post

If you can't see a quarter an inch under the surface, it's not icy.

 

There must be a thousand threads on skiing ice. Did you try searching?

You might find this one:

http://www.epicski.com/t/96337/ice-advice-please

 

 


Took this pic in the Midwest a couple weeks ago. After a few days of rain everything froze up hard and then we had an inch of new snow on top of ungroomed ice and snirt. It was actually pretty fun skiing -- they turned a lift on for me and I had the whole area to myself. Kind of a strange sensation but enjoyable -- not sure how it would be if the hill were steeper and I had to be concerned with speed control. My ski bases, however, really didn't fare too well since there wasn't any snow shoveled on to the lift ramp since I was the only one there....

 

.

cropped.jpg

 


Edited by MidwestPete - 3/16/12 at 8:36am
post #8 of 23
Thread Starter 

yes i know i need some video will do as soon as poss,

what do you mean short swing hasn't been current turn in The States?

is this a short radiuds or a short swing?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gwJ7fuA3fsM&feature=related

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by TheRusty View Post

Awesome Rossy!

 

There are two elements involved here: edge engagement and edge hold. 

 

"Short swing" has not been a "current" turn here in the USA in many years. I think of it as an edge set to an up unweight with edge change and direction change in mid air followed by an edge set in the new direction with a steady flow of the upper body down the fall line. I've never seen anyone do this on ice without skidding. Short swing turns require extremely quick edge engagement. When the skis are not pointed in the same direction as the body's direction of travel, this task is virtually impossible on ice on any significant pitch.

 

Now if you really mean short radius turn, the first thing to consider is that if the turn is shorter than the carving radius of the ski (adjusted for any ski bend occuring) then by definition there must be some skidding to make that short a turn. Assuming you know that and your complaint is about skidding and loss of control above and beyond that; and given that your question specifically refers to steeper terrain and suspects technique issues my guess would be the cause is not rounding out the top of the turn (i.e. engaging the new inside edges above the fall line) due to lack of aggressiveness getting the body to the inside of the new turn above the fall line.

 

Your skis are going to be a big factor in determining how much edge hold is possible on icy terrain. I'll assume that you know enough to keep your edges sharpened, that you've consciously chosen specific edge bevel angles and that you're not going to change skis to get the optional flex pattern for skiing on firmer snow for your technique. The hardness of the ice is going to determine how much force the surface will support (ok - this is a crude over simplification). Your speed, the steepness of the terrain and the shape of your turn (i.e. how much speed control you want) are going to determine how much total force needs to be distributed over the length of the turn. For a given size turn, your technique is going to determine if the force you are applying to the skis at any point in the turn is going to exceed either what the skis or the surface will support. Changing tactics (e.g. shallower turns more down the fall line, longer radius turns, doing skid to carve vs carve to skid) is another option. The bottom line here is that there are a lot of factors involved. Changing one or more of those factors can get you the results you are looking for. Changing technique is the hardest factor to change. Helping someone change technique without being able to see it is even harder.

 

Get video! Even video on soft snow would be helpful.

 

 



 

post #9 of 23
Thread Starter 


yes upper body at one point was known to be not as stable as it should be, thats something ive worked hard at, not letting it drift off in all directions and stay facing down the fall line
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by epic View Post

Without video, it could be anything, but start by making sure the upper body is strong and stable.



 

post #10 of 23

Rossy,

 

Those are short radius.

 

These are short swing:

 

 

 

The main differences are that with modern skis we don't need to edge set and up weight to turn the skis.

post #11 of 23
Thread Starter 

its short radius that im having trouble with then, we call short radius 'the serpentine' as i say i cn keep them going on shallower terrain but clearly im doing something wrong as the flas come out when its steeper and icier, so whats the usual suspect problems with s/r turns?
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheRusty View Post

Rossy,

 

Those are short radius.

 

These are short swing:

 

 

 

The main differences are that with modern skis we don't need to edge set and up weight to turn the skis.



 

post #12 of 23

The two usual suspects I see are not moving the core into the turn above the fall line and fundamental flaws that just start becoming evident on steeper/icier terrain and shorter turns (e.g. feet turning the skis vs skis turning the legs). In 99% of cases, a skiers fundamental movement patterns are the same no matter whether they are making wedge turns or parallel, whether steep of flat, powder or ice. Skiing different conditions should be about making adjustments vs using a different technique.

post #13 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheRusty View Post

The two usual suspects I see are not moving the core into the turn above the fall line and fundamental flaws that just start becoming evident on steeper/icier terrain and shorter turns (e.g. feet turning the skis vs skis turning the legs). In 99% of cases, a skiers fundamental movement patterns are the same no matter whether they are making wedge turns or parallel, whether steep of flat, powder or ice. Skiing different conditions should be about making adjustments vs using a different technique.


Feet turning skis=flicking out the heels to lose control and just skidding???
This is a sensation I noticed on medium and long radius turns that I managed to eradicate, it was an unconscious action I did to control speed instead of dropping my hip in more and creating more angulation and rotation thighs more to turn out of the fall line to control speed,
Problem is with s/r turns I don't have the time to think about what I feeling to get it correct so it ends a little shabby
I'm going to go to the snow done next few days I'll get some video, will you be happy to give me some advice please?
post #14 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by rossymcg View Post


Feet turning skis=flicking out the heels to lose control and just skidding???
 


Yes - that is one manifestation of feet turning skis.

 

"Problem is with s/r turns I don't have the time to think about " - Precisely! The movements must come from muscle memory. If you still have to think about them in longer radius turns, they aren't going to happen in short radius turns yet.

 

 

 

Work on a funnel drill. Start with larger radius turns and gradually work to smaller radius turns and then back to larger turns again. Find the size turn where the break down occurs then do extra practice at just larger than that size.

 

post #15 of 23
Thread Starter 
Yes I'm at the stage now where I don't think about doing it during m/r and l/r turns but the odd time when I'm going fast and it gets tight I'll unwantedly kick out my heel causing me to skid and scrub off speed and control, I have to think when arriving at that point don't kick out and drive knees and hips in to the mountain more and angulate to tighten the arc of the turn out of the fall line controlling the speed,
And the good thing is I've identified the bad heel kicky feeling as a no no move which is a huge step in the right direction
post #16 of 23

I subscribe to the theory that (most of the time) by the time a "no no" move happens it is too late. That move happens because the preferred movement has already not occurred. If you don't engage the new inside edges above the fall line, you will have a strong urge to push the heels out to force the skis into the new desired direction. You can resist that urge and change to a larger radius turn, carve the finish and pick up speed, but that does not "fix" the problem of not engaging your new edge as early as you could be to carve the top part of the turn. This isn't necessarily what you are doing, but it's an example of something instructors keep in mind when assessing students and creating lesson plans.

post #17 of 23
Thread Starter 
With the s/r turns is the 1st part of the turn not feathered in as to say before the edges bite?
My problem with skiing before that i was working on was an inactive inside leg with very little pressure on that leg, my tracks looked pretty one sided with all the weight on outside leg and not angluating enough, maybe this problem is showing its self when things get quicker in the s/r,
post #18 of 23

I am sure I am not understanding your question correctly, but I understand "feathering" to be you turning the skis vs the skis turning you.

 

If you are tipping the ski at the beginning of the turn onto the new inside (i.e. downhill) edge and the ski is pointed in the same direction as the direction of travel then the ski edge will engage and begin to turn the ski (creating the top part of a "C" shaped turn) and thus turn you. If you are turning your feet to point the ski away from the direction of travel (i.e. you turning the ski) and then tip the ski to the new inside edge, that edge will most likely not be the "downhill" edge, you will by definition be skidding the skis (e.g. feathering) and you will most likely not get a "C" shaped turn. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Racers have this tactic in their "bag of tricks". When they do this they prefer to use the whole foot to turn the ski (pivot point under the feet - tips and tails both move) vs only using their heels (pivot point at the ski tip - only tails push out). Ski racers sometimes want to "hit the brakes hard" when entering a turn the same way that auto racers do. If you want to make short radius short swing turns, then by all means this will work. But it won't work as well on (cough) "firmer" snow as "carving" the upper part of the turn by tipping and engaging the new inside edge first.

post #19 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by rossymcg View Post

I think I've been misunderstood, when I say serpentine, I'm referring to what you USA folk call short swings,


Wow.... "short swing" is a term I haven't heard in decades (so is "serpentine" for that matter).  Did you just fly in on your time machine from the 60's?  wink.gif

post #20 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheRusty View Post

I am sure I am not understanding your question correctly, but I understand "feathering" to be you turning the skis vs the skis turning you.

 

If you are tipping the ski at the beginning of the turn onto the new inside (i.e. downhill) edge and the ski is pointed in the same direction as the direction of travel then the ski edge will engage and begin to turn the ski (creating the top part of a "C" shaped turn) and thus turn you. If you are turning your feet to point the ski away from the direction of travel (i.e. you turning the ski) and then tip the ski to the new inside edge, that edge will most likely not be the "downhill" edge, you will by definition be skidding the skis (e.g. feathering) and you will most likely not get a "C" shaped turn. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Racers have this tactic in their "bag of tricks". When they do this they prefer to use the whole foot to turn the ski (pivot point under the feet - tips and tails both move) vs only using their heels (pivot point at the ski tip - only tails push out). Ski racers sometimes want to "hit the brakes hard" when entering a turn the same way that auto racers do. If you want to make short radius short swing turns, then by all means this will work. But it won't work as well on (cough) "firmer" snow as "carving" the upper part of the turn by tipping and engaging the new inside edge first.


But Rusty, on the vid I posted there's an element of skidding involved in the turn isnt there? And that's what I mean by feathering in, with my basic understanding it would be impossible to create such a tight turn with out some skidding/pivioting


As for travelling from the 60's that would be an even more amazing task I was only created in 1977, I think serpentine sound better that short radius turns
post #21 of 23

Yes Rossy, for turns that have a shorter radius than the sidecut plus bending of the ski allows - there must be skidding. The ideal way to do this is to have the pivot point under the feet vs at the tip of the skis. There has to be some of you turning the skis, but I'm talking about not enough of the skis turning you.

 

After searching the web for a definition of feathering, 2 definitions seem to apply (translated into skiing terms): 1) reduction of edge angle, 2) to turn softly with precision. For the first definition, strictly speaking, we don't want to reduce edge angle to feather the turn for short radius turns because then the whole ski breaks loose and skids vs the desired pivoting from under the feet. But a carving ski is not pivoting either. A ski on a lower edge angle is easier to steer, but a ski on a higher edge angle is going to bend more and require less steering. The second definition seems less frequently used and is a real stretch to apply to short radius turns. In my mind, the application here is that we want the sensation of guiding the skis into the turn. Too much guidance and we lose the turning power of the edges. Too little and the skis don't turn sharply enough. 

 

I don't use the term feathering when I teach short radius turns. If it helps you, great.

post #22 of 23

Rossymcg

 

 The start of the turn in softer the ski has not sunk as far into the snow as it does @ the end of the turn if the ski is building up max compresion throughout turn based on max edge hold throughout the turn then the ski builds up more to bank against. With less to bank against @ the begginning of turn the direction change I think would be slower @ the beggining of turn. High edge angles causes the ski to bend more also for/aft weighting can cause the ski to bend which can also cause the ski to bend more. It is also very important how the skier gets to those high edge angles i.e.. if a lot of compresion is built up @ the end of the turn then suddenly relesed by flexing the legs resulting in a large amount of travel of the skis as the skis travel underneath the body to the other side then coming into contact with the snow with skis tipped highly on edge the turn will accelerate quicker then if a lower angle was applied @ the get go. Pure carved turns I find useless in most situations because the turn is just to big. The most important turn in my quiver is the brush carved short turn with a 2 footed release.

post #23 of 23

FWIW....from hack-skier in the NE...,

All said info previous, including link, should be re-read....but another thing of note that I didn't notice...and that is that ice takes on many

textures(including totally smooth)...due to the conditions present when freezing and/or thawingrolleyes.gif, and one needs to be able to learn, to a certain degree, just how its grippiness will hold an edge.   As said, when balanced...lightness will find an edge the quickest on ultra smooth ice...especially for that inside/uphill boot..it'll instantly be the lightest as mother gravity grabs quickly....

$.01

 


Edited by HaveSkisWillClimb - 3/30/12 at 3:14pm
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