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# The Basic Wedge Christie - Page 2

Quote:
Originally Posted by bud heishman

...it looks as though there is not much if any skidding in that diagram?  Don't you agree there should be some skidding for the exact reason you posted regarding lower skill development.  Does this level student likely have the fine edging skills?  In fact isn't the definition of a christie "skidding on corresponding edges"?

Hi Bud--I don't entirely disagree, but I'll offer a few thoughts. First, I think that my illustration does show a small amount of skidding--at least, it is intended to! Notice that the outside ski is never quite parallel to the direction of travel (the red line shows the direction of travel of the center of mass). If it were a "pure-carved turn," the outside ski, at least, would exactly parallel the red line, and wherever the pressure is 100% balanced on the outside ski, the edge of that foot will also be exactly on the line. So with these things in mind, the illustration shows a small amount of brushing (skidding), and the pressure center always somewhere between the feet--albeit much closer to the outside foot near the end of the shaping/control phase (frames 9-10 and 17-18).

Compare the Wedge Christie illustration with the other end of the performance spectrum (still with the same intent and fundamental movement patterns)--the highly carved Dynamic Parallel Turn:

On the other hand, my definition of the Wedge Christie includes that they are "as carved as possible." That's the same intent, of course, as each of the other "milestones" along the same path (wedge, basic parallel, dynamic parallel). That's not to say that they are necessarily pure-carved turns by any means--merely that there is no intentional skidding and braking. It follows clearly and logically from the intent to control purely direction, not speed, to ski "a slow enough line as fast as possible." For real skiers at that skill level, there is likely to be a fair amount of skidding in most turns, even though it is not their intent, largely due to their undeveloped fine edging skills, as you suggest. On the other hand, with today's soft deep-sidecut skis, it doesn't take much edge angle or edging skill to get the skis to carve, or to help shape the turn with minimal skidding. For instructors demonstrating wedge christies, that's why I insist that we must ski turns that are smaller than we can "pure carve," to ensure that they show some unintentional but very obvious skidding.

And again, in "real" skiing situations, we will often see skiers at this level who are not entirely offensive, and who therefore use the wedge to brake, or increase the skidding intentionally to brake. No problem there--it's just no longer a pure, offensive wedge christie!

As to the traditional definition of "christie" being "skidding on corresponding edges," technically you are correct, of course. But since that term arose at a time when virtually all turns involved skidding, I have a slightly different take on it. I could be wrong about the intent of whoever coined the term "christie," but my suspicion is that the operative and important words were "on corresponding edges," and the "skidding" part was just a nod to the "fact" at the time that all turns involved skidding. So the intended distinction was between being "on opposing edges" (that is, wedges and stems), and being "on corresponding edges." I just don't think that the term was meant to distinguish skidded turns from carved turns--especially since a nearly-equally-old expression was "carved christie."

In any case, I agree that an instructor's demonstration of wedge christie should show some gentle brushing or skidding. But that is only so that it demonstrates the active leg rotation (fulcrum mechanism) we want to show, and so that--like the wedge itself--it presents an image of skiing that is accessible to students at that level. Make it small enough, and "as carved as possible" will show all the skidding required!

Best regards,
Bob

Looking at some new demos of this task. in the NW we have a demo of a very flat wedge and christy with little flexion or extension. Basically a model for steering flat skis in and out the fall line. the christy was so flat that there was quite a bit of displacement in the matching.

Is the focus changing from more blended edging skills demonstrated to much more steering and only enough edging to allow control in this task ?  What are other divisions teaching  ?

In the exams the examiners preferred still a mix of skills  supported by flexion and extension. I like the focus as far as making the ski as slippery, as Bud says, as is possible. It takes away over edging troubles and enables both feet to move unopposed into the fall line creating a good early open parallel turn shape with a bit of steering.

GarryZ,  I don't know about any division's focus, including my division for that matter.  I am looking for a demo that makes the most sense and is in line with our ultimate goal of good parallel turning.  It sounds like the NW division's focus is right in line with mine.  Again you and I may define steering, pivoting, edging differently?  I think of the ATM Teaching Concepts III manual of the late 70's which showed a spectrum with Pivoting on one extreme end and Edging on the other extreme and everything in between was a blending of the two in different proportions.  Pivoting was basically pivot slips where there was no direction change yet the skis rotated 180 degrees perpendicular to the fall line and pure edging with minimal rotary was railroad track turning.  Everywhere in between was some ratio of the two skills which I understand as steering (a blend of edging and rotary skills to shape a turn).  I believe the basic wedge christie demo should have the ratio of edging and pivoting be somewhere around a 50/50 blending or perhaps 60/40 edging to rotary.  This is only my personal opinion but it makes sense to me as we pass through the stepping stones from wedge turns to dynamic parallel turns it would make sense that the skills become more refined.  The basic christie should demonstrate the appropriate blending of skills for this level skier.  Skiers at this level who try to edge their skis too much usually find problems because they are unable to find the appropriate blend of edging, rotary, and pressure control to guide their skis well and control their speed.  They either over pivot or they over tip or they lean back, or all three.

With this spectrum in mind, I would suggest that the Basic, Elementary, or whatever we want to call a christie that is matched after the fall line is a lower skilled turn and should show the appropriate blending of the skills appropriate for this level skier.  This, to me, involves a turn guided by a rudimentary level of skill development in edging, pressure, and rotary.  Where we conclude the appropriate blend should be is open for discussion but I personally do not believe we are carving turn completions just yet at this stage of development.  I also want to avoid at all costs, any stemming, snow plowing, ab-stemming, bi-stemming or braking movements which do not promote a fluid crossover the feet.

I admit I have been over emphasizing the skidded arc this past week just to get a bit of something out of my candidates resembling lower leg rotary skills and a release vs. a stem to start the turns and perhaps I have over compensated in my descriptions above.  There is a clear mechanical divide between stem christies and wedge christies that I am not convinced the majority of our members understand and this sends many students unnecessarily, down a one way dead end street.

Edited by bud heishman - 4/20/12 at 8:44pm

Thanks Bud for taking the time with this. I define the terms as you have stated so we're totally on the same page with this task. This is an important exercise and leading them through  this last step towards steered  open parallel without creating a hang up is critical to their short and long  term goals.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bud heishman

There is a clear mechanical divide between stem christies and wedge christies that I am not convinced the majority of our members understand and this sends many students unnecessarily, down a one way dead end street.

I agree, Bud. That's the bottom line, and it is a critical distinction. The two--wedge christie and stem christie--look superficially similar (both begin with converging skis and finish parallel), but a bit of understanding reveals them to be polar opposites, in almost every respect. The intents they serve are opposite--one (wedge christie) is offensive--"go that way," and the other is defensive--"stop going this way," or "don't go that way." One (wedge christie) involves exclusively what I call "positive movements"--movements in the direction of the intended turn. The other involves the opposite--"negative movements" in the opposite direction.

For a wedge christie, the simple thought, "right tip right to go right," pretty much tells it all. In simplest terms, it describes the movement that initiates a right turn and that continues throughout the right turn. As that right ski releases and turns right, everything else, including the left ski, follows. No, it hardly explains all the technical details of a right turn, but it literally gets things off with the right foot, and moving in the right direction, based on the key intent of all offensive turns: GO!

By contrast, "left tail left to not go right" describes the initiation of a stem christie to the right. Right ski vs. left ski, tip vs. tail, movement to the right vs. movement to the left, "GO" vs. "not go". . . you really can't get much more opposite than that! One is "release the edge and guide the tips into the turn," and the other is "set the edge and twist the tails away from the turn.

Sounds simple, but I share your belief that many instructors fail to recognize--or at least, to acknowledge--the fundamental difference.

---

Bud, I also like your emphasis that it's more about finding a description and a demonstration that ultimately makes sense in the grand scheme of good skiing, and not about blind belief in dogma. You don't get understanding by memorizing the words of a trainer or a description from a manual. You begin to comprehend when you question and challenge these things, put them to the test to develop your own understanding of "what makes sense."

Benjamin Bloom's well-known "taxonomy of the cognitive domain" suggests that "knowledge" is but the first step, the bottom rung on the ladder to understanding, awareness, expertise, and creativity ("knowledge--comprehension--application--analysis--synthesis--evaluation"). "Knowledge" on its own--although it may impress some people--isn't worth very much. For all the merely "knowledgeable" person knows, it could all be bunk!

Answers give knowledge. Questions begin understanding.

Best regards,
Bob

Quote:
Originally Posted by bud heishman

Because a good picture is worth a thousand words, as instructors we owe it to our students to show them the best demonstrations possible.  We do not demand perfection or   detailed understanding from our students but offering them a clear mechanically accurate image is important.  As a side benefit, your personal skiing performance will improve proportionately to the effort you put into making accurate movements in your lower level demonstrations.

I am assuming here the proper mechanics have been taught and learned in a wedge turn which will progress quite easily into christie turns.

The wedge christie demonstration is a stark contrast to a traditional “stem” christie of the sixties and seventies.  The stem is a defensive braking maneuver where the Center of mass does not flow across the feet, rather it is moved inside the new turn by stemming the foot away.  In contrast the wedge christie demonstrates a constant flow of the Cm between turns in an offensive non braking manner where speed control is derived by progressively steering the skis across the fall line using gravity more than friction to control speed.

As defined in our guidelines the wedge christie is a turn begun in a wedge and matched somewhere after the fall line into a skidded arc.  This presents two challenges for the demonstrator.  First we must match the skis into a skidded arc and secondly we must open from said skidded arc into a wedge to initiate the new turn.  This is where many instructors fail this demo.

While we tend to focus on the match, I find if we can efficiently nail the turn transition the matching becomes  more spontaneous because of the accurate movements begun in the initiation.  Here is where mistakes are made and many times the demonstration becomes a “stem” christie instead of the contemporary wedge christie.   Let’s begin from a skidded arc which the defines the christie.  From a skidded arc there should never be an edged platform created with the down hill ski.  Our skis should flow smoothly from one curved path to another without any traverse!  If the demonstrator gets too far inside the turn finish it causes a platform and traverse which consequently tempts a stem opening.  More accurately, from the skidded arc, the skier should open into a wedge without ever engaging the inside edge of the down hill ski to create a platform from which to stem.  So in effect the down hill ski continues it’s skid with it’s direction changed by releasing the edge angle as the new outside ski is simultaneously steered down the hill out of the christie into the wedge position.  The whole demo should be kinda slithery or greasy on the snow.  Our tracks should look like knives spreading butter on bread, with little edge engagement.  By releasing the downhill ski’s grip on the slope we allow gravity to help pull the tips into the fall line.  Remember the dominant skill at this level is rotary, more specifically foot and lower leg rotary.  Fulcrum turning rather than rotary push off!

On the spectrum of skill blending from pure pivoting (ie: pivot slips) to pure edging (ie: railroad tracks) this demo should be closer to the pivoting end than the carving end.  Having conducted a few level II skiing preps and exam modules this season, I see the majority of candidates over edging this demo and finishing the turns in a traverse and consequently, initiating with a stem.

Let’s look at the description and priorities of a Wedge Christie as defined in our manual:

Slightly faster speed than wedge turns with smaller wedge.

Turn initiated by opening both skis into a wedge with slight extension.

Balance over outside ski

Inside ski changes edge and is steered to match after the fall line.

While these descriptives leave much room for interpretation, if we look at good mechanics and the goal of teaching the movements of parallel turning, it becomes  clear what the most appropriate actions needed are to promote fluid offensive turns.

Slightly faster speed with a smaller wedge.  This descriptive helps to promote a christie holistically.  By simply increasing the speed and/or narrowing the wedge we naturally decrease the edge angle of the inside ski allowing it to be steered much more easily to a match if the skier is in a good body position and using lower leg steering.

Turn initiated by opening both skis into a wedge with a slight extension.  Remember a wedge opening is NOT a stem opening!  If the skier opens into a wedge position with a stem from an edged engaged downhill ski they have blocked the fluid crossover we are looking for in the Centerline demonstrations.  This is a defensive braking movement vs. the fluid offensive “GO” movement of a “release” of the old turn.  The opening should come from both skis skidding in a curved path, to the new outside ski being steered down the fall line to create a wedge opening.  This steering action of the new outside ski should be accompanied by a slight extension of that leg which facilitates the release of the downhill ski.

A detailed explanation of flexion is not discussed in our manuals however it should be noted the flexion in the wedge and wedge christie demos should be a lateral movement of the hips to balance against the slight turning forces generated.  This means the outside leg remains rather long while the inside leg is flexed slightly while the skier remains balanced over the outside ski.  This facilitates a slight counter of the pelvis.  Consequently, the subsequent extension is a simultaneous steering and extension from this shortened leg to move the center of mass over the feet while simultaneously releasing the downhill ski’s grip on the snow, permitting a very fluid initiation into the new turn

Balance:  The demonstrator moves with skis, to remain over the sweet spot of the skis throughout the turns permitting the most efficient access to rotary, edging, and pressure control movements.

Rotary:  The demonstrator uses a fulcrum turning mechanism to turn feet below a stable quiet pelvis.  The femurs rotate in the hip socket facilitated by a slight flex in the ankles, knees and hips.  This results in an obvious counter at turn completion which facilitates the initiation phase by using the anticipation release of the old turn.

Edging:  The demonstrator uses just enough edge angle to keep the skis on a curved path without excessive skidding.  This allows for maximum guiding efforts from the rotary skill while not permitting an edged platform to be created.  The new turn is initiated with a release of downhill ski’s edge (deflection), complimenting the simultaneous steering & extension of the uphill leg to send the tips down the fall line.

Pressure Control:  The demonstrator uses a fluid and continuous transfer of pressure from one ski to the other through a series of turns.  The weight shift should be passive yet simultaneous with the release movement of the down hill ski rather than any active shift.   Rather than the torso actively shifting out over the outside ski, the skier  releases the pressure built up beneath the downhill ski which begins the new turn and a consequent weight shift to the new outside ski.  As the deflection from the downhill ski is reduced with the release, turning forces are created under the new outside ski simultaneously and the direction is changed.

All of the movements in a good wedge christie are the exact same movements of a good parallel turn and expert skiing! ...and isn’t this the goal?

Hi Bud. Good topic. Too much for me to read through on the fly but I skimmed through most postings so I kind of know what you guys are discussing. So sorry if I bring up something that was explained by numerous honorable epic members already. I have some questions.

There has sofar in this thread not been any explanation for the "extention" noted in PSIA guidlines. Why? Why/why not extending? What function did it serve and why is it not needed anymore?

What should a person do when his initiation is delayed or he has to change his line and ends up in a traverse and platform on the downhill ski? His only skills are wedge turn and wedge christie.

Could the by you explained proper wedge christie be performed with feet at a very close stance when matched?

Quote:
Originally Posted by tdk6

There has sofar in this thread not been any explanation for the "extention" noted in PSIA guidlines. Why? Why/why not extending?

Yes there was an explanation. It's right there in the text you quoted:

Consequently, the subsequent extension is a simultaneous steering and extension from this shortened leg to move the center of mass over the feet while simultaneously releasing the downhill ski’s grip on the snow, permitting a very fluid initiation into the new turn

Quote:
Originally Posted by tdk6

Could the by you explained proper wedge christie be performed with feet at a very close stance when matched?

By "close" do you mean feet less than shoulder width apart/ outside edge of the feet inside the armpits/ thighs touching?

Wedge Christie=every movement is toward the turn.
Hi TDK6--good to "see" you! Hope you've had a great season.

Yes, the answer is in the text you quoted (one of the problems with quoting entire posts), but I think you are right to question it.

In my opinion, the description of wedge christie from the PSIA-West technical manual, while not necessarily inaccurate, can be quite misleading and confusing, in several ways. In particular, it appears to reverse a few cause-effect relationships, which at the least tends to place the focus on "what you should do" in the wrong place. Of course, as Bud points out, brief written descriptions like these paint only a small part of the picture--the rest is the image, demonstration, perhaps video, and explanation of a clinician. All good, IF the clinician's understanding is accurate, and consistent with the understanding of all the other clinicians. (In other words, probably not all good!)

"Turn initiated by opening both skis into a wedge with a slight extension." As worded, this line suggests that "opening both skis into a wedge" and "a slight extension" cause the turn initiation, which is misleading. In fact, the wedge occurs as a result of the turn initiation, which is caused by releasing the edge (letting go of the mountain so that gravity can pull you down the hill) and steering (turning) both legs and skis down the hill (at different rates--also a result, not a cause, of the turn). Releasing the edge and guiding both skis down the hill is what you, and your student, should focus on--not "opening both skis into a wedge." If they turn at different rates, you'll have your wedge. If not, you've progressed to parallel!

And "with a slight extension" is at the very least vague and open to misinterpretation--if not just plain wrong. Extension of what? Since the sentence talks about "both skis," it's reasonable to infer that the extension should involve both legs. Bud attempted to clarify that in the words Rusty quoted, pointing out that "flexion [and extension] in the wedge and wedge christie demos should be a lateral movement of the hips to balance against the slight turning forces generated"--which suggests that the two legs flex and extend unequally--"long leg-short leg"--which does accompany--and if active, cause--lateral movement of the body (cm) over the feet. In other words, when we lean into a turn, our inside leg (left leg in a left turn) tends to become shorter while our right leg tends to extend a bit.

If that (long leg-short leg) is what the author of the tech manual intended by "with a slight extension," it is not obvious as written (although he/she does add clarity under the "Edging" heading, with the words, "simultaneous steering & extension of the uphill leg...."). But even if it is what he or she meant, I believe that the cause-effect relationship is backwards, as far as "perfect" wedge christies go. As we move laterally across our skis and into a turn, our legs tend to flex and extend unequally, but it is only necessary to do it actively (muscularly and intentionally) when we need to force our body to move laterally. As anyone who has ridden a bicycle can attest, when we're balanced and flowing smoothly from turn to turn (like a wedge christie should be) there is no need to "force" that lateral movement with active long leg-short leg movements.

I remember a clinic--actually, it was an Examiner selection, unfortunately--in which the candidate suggested that we "imagine our flexed uphill leg at the beginning of the turn is large hydraulic jack, which extends and forces our body across our feet and down the hill...." Well, if you need to force your body across your skis, that's certainly one way to do it. But if you need to do that to start your next turn, you've already made a big mistake (you've finished your last turn not in "neutral," and somehow stopped the accurate "flow" of your center of mass down the hill) and that "extension" represents only a bandaid fix. You should fix the problem on your next turn, so you won't need that "solution" again!

---

For me, "flexion-extension" is among the last things I focus on in my wedge christies, and when teaching students at that level. First of all, when I hear the simple word "extend" (or "flex"), it does not trigger an image of "long leg-short leg" lateral movement (or of fore-aft movement, for that matter)--it suggests getting taller or shorter. And I think that there is wide-spread confusion of why, and when, we need to get taller and shorter in turns at all levels. Primarily, we do it to manage the amount of pressure on our skis--to absorb bumps, to regain contact with the snow after flying over a roll, to reduce the pressure at the bottom of turns so that soft snow doesn't disintegrate beneath us, and so on. Expressions like "extend to release" and "flex to release" imply a cause-effect relationship that simply is not there. Releasing is a tipping movement. (Yes, it involves lateral movement of the center of mass over the feet, which we can "force" with long leg-short leg movements, but I've already discussed that, and it is not the same as "getting taller or shorter").

In short, I've long been critical of the common advice to "extend to release" or "flex to release." "Well, I mean, 'extend down the hill, or extend into the turn,'" is the common retort, to which I reply, "why not just 'move down the hill?' Why do I need to 'extend' (or 'flex)' as I do it?" To which I am usually faced with a confused, dazed look, accompanied by "well, that's what you're supposed to do, isn't it?"--which betrays a lack of understanding, "knowledge" without "comprehension." There MUST be a better answer to "why?" than "because that's what it says in the manual"!

Now...another reason to "flex" (get shorter) is to allow angulation movements in the feet/ankles, knees, hips, and spine (you can't tip your skis with all of your joints rigidly extended, beyond how much your entire body tips). So it is normal that we flex some joints somewhat as we increase edge angle in turns (note that I did not say "to" increase edge angle). And as we decrease edge angles to exit the turn and release the edges to begin the new turn, there is no particular need to stay "short" (which requires muscular effort), so unless there is some other need to "flex" (eg. to absorb a bump or a "virtual bump" in high-speed turns), we might as well stand a little taller and relax through that transition and edge release. So it is not uncommon, and not inappropriate, to "rise" through the transition in low-speed wedge christies. It is a luxury we can afford in such low-speed turns. But it certainly is not necessary or required to cause the edge release. We may well extend (rise) as we release, but we certainly do not need to "extend to release."

Furthermore--IF we think we must rise in the transition for whatever reason, timing is critical--and commonly missed. We'll rise as we reduce the edge angle, and the edge release will occur at the top of the rise. In other words, we will rise OUT of the previous turn, NOT into the new turn. If you start extending (rising) as you start the new turn, you'll be way too late--and guaranteed to start your turn with a stem of the uphill ski (since the downhill ski won't release until the top of the extension).

---
Summary:
So I find it rarely necessary--or helpful--to even mention flexion-extension in wedge turns or wedge christies. Yes, if a student tends to get bent over and "stuck" on his edges, a simple reminder to "stand up" can help let go and stimulate the release. But it's still not a necessary move, and I'd prefer to keep the focus on "flatten to release," which describes the true cause-effect relationship. Indeed, since high edge angles are not yet involved at this level, there is little need to flex low, beyond just the gentle flexion of a basic athletic stance. Furthermore, if I don't bring it up, I won't have to "unteach" "extend to release" later, when we're skiing bumps or high-performance turns that may well require flexion/retraction through the transition. In my own skiing, and in my teaching, I want to keep extension/flexion ("tall/short") movements entirely separate from tipping, lateral, fore-aft, and rotary movements. I want to be able to do each of these things independently, as needed, without necessarily affecting the others. "Extend to release" ties two of these movement pools together in a way that is unnecessary, and that will become detrimental at some point in the skier's development.

---

I suggest that other potentially misleading or confusing statements in the PSIA-W tech manual, possibly involving reversal of the cause-effect relationships (or implying causal relationships that don't exist), include "turn initiated by opening both skis into a wedge" (remember--both skis turn in the same direction but at different rates, not in opposite directions, and the unequal rates are the result of other factors, not primary causes of the turn) and "the weight shift should be passive yet simultaneous with the release movement of the down hill ski rather than any active shift" (these things can occur simultaneously only with an active, muscular "weight shift," or if passive, the shift will be smooth and gradual, later in the turn, not "simultaneous" with the edge release). All worthy of further discussion!

Best regards,
Bob

Hi Bob, thanks for asking. My season was short and intence. 3rd year in a row with more snow than in a 100 years. But winter came late, therefore such a short season.

Thanks also for your extensive reply to my extention question. Somehow I dont think that the extention refered to the flexion/extention relationship between the two leggs as you describe it. I think its more a extention to up-unweight. Not that its needed in the wedge christie. Or the wedge turn or the stem christie for that matter eather. Still its there. Kind of to coach the students ahead. Lots of demos on youtube show the up-extention but not many refer to it as up-unweighting to unweight.

This guy calls it "Rice to Recenter":

This guy tells us to "stand up and turn both thights to point your toes to the downhill side":

And here a fake stem christie from 1958. But check out the extention.

Also, the traditional way of teaching a wedge turn is to extend up. When you do that you automatically relese your edges from the wedge and you are drawn into the fall line. Did not find any good video at youtube but I remember seeing many of those over the years. Could it be that PSIA kind of refers to these two possible reasons? Or maybe both. Ingraining the dredded up-move?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheRusty

By "close" do you mean feet less than shoulder width apart/ outside edge of the feet inside the armpits/ thighs touching?

I was thinking that if the skis were so close together that the only way of opening up into a wedge would be to push the tails out. Steering both skis into a wedge would be impossible.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kneale Brownson

Wedge Christie=every movement is toward the turn.

In a wedge christie turn the new inside ski is pushing away from the direction of the turn. Kind of the whole ide of the wedge turn. To create some friction that can be used to turn.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tdk6

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kneale Brownson

Wedge Christie=every movement is toward the turn.

In a wedge christie turn the new inside ski is pushing away from the direction of the turn. Kind of the whole ide of the wedge turn.

Actually, that is not the way I would describe the wedge christie (or wedge turn) that we emphasize in PSIA-Rocky Mountain, TDK6. One critical distinction, that I have alluded to above, is that in these offensive turns, both skis must turn in the same direction at the same time, just as in a parallel turn. In other words, to start (and all the way through) a right turn, both legs rotate to the right, with the skis pivoting about points under the foot--actually a little closer to the heel than to the toes. That's what is implied in Kneale's statement, at least as far as rotary movements are concerned.

If the left leg and ski turn right as the right leg and ski turn left to create a wedge (that is, the legs rotate in opposite directions), it is NOT a wedge christie by my definition.

Best regards,
Bob

There is a reason PSIA spends so much ink and time on the wedge christie. tThe PSIA wedge christie is a contrived turn!  The matching of the skis and inside leg steering are not natural movements.Candidates are proving this all the time in their certification exams. If you extend rather than flexing the skis will match naturally and so will inside leg steering. The idea that you should purposely try to rotate, edge, or pressure the skis in the course of a turn is OUTDATED. All these movements should be spontaneous [ automatic ] reactions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Barnes

Actually, that is not the way I would describe the wedge christie (or wedge turn) that we emphasize in PSIA-Rocky Mountain, TDK6. One critical distinction, that I have alluded to above, is that in these offensive turns, both skis must turn in the same direction at the same time, just as in a parallel turn. In other words, to start (and all the way through) a right turn, both legs rotate to the right, with the skis pivoting about points under the foot--actually a little closer to the heel than to the toes. That's what is implied in Kneale's statement, at least as far as rotary movements are concerned.
If the left leg and ski turn right as the right leg and ski turn left to create a wedge (that is, the legs rotate in opposite directions), it is NOT a wedge christie by my definition.
Best regards,
Bob

In the interests of clarity Bob, can you please explain, perhaps with a diagram, how starting with skis parallel, (a) || (skiing up the page) you can end up in a wedge (b) /\  (perhas with both / and \ rotated clockwise a bit) wile rotating both skis in the same direction.  Is it that the new outside ski just rotaes more than the new inside ski?  I'm just having trouble visualizing what has been described.

No, jbharstad, if you understand what a wedge christie really is, you will realize that it is anything but a contrived turn. As several of us here have tried to explain, it is not any different, fundamentally, from a basic parallel turn, but merely the natural, all-but-inevitable, spontaneous result of skiers trying not to make a wedge christie at all, but with generally low skill development (that is, beginners), and low speed.

It is the most natural and uncontrived turn you could make--which is why beginners do it (or its opposite cousin the stem christie, when they are defensive). What is challenging is for highly skilled skiers to demonstrate the same movements without making it contrived. For that, the tactics I've suggested work: ski very complete turns much shorter in radius than your skis will carve by themselves. Indeed, even the most ardent "direct-to-parallel" instructors will make wedge christies if you prescribe the task sufficiently clearly. And even the most ardent "direct-to-parallel" instructors even admit that it is a natural, inevitable (that is, uncontrived) outcome of sound movements in certain scenarios (that is, the short, complete, low-speed turns I just mentioned). Here is a direct quote from one of them: "The proponents of [a well-known 'direct-parallel' learning progression] unequivocally understand and acknowledge that a wedge stance may result, even when skiers are taught "Direct Parallel." (PM me if you'd like the link.)

Understand that we do not teach wedge turns, wedge christies, or even parallel turns. We teach movements and movement patterns. As skiers become somewhat adept at those movement patterns, they inevitably tend to ski parallel most of the time. Prior to that, the same movement patterns at a more rudimentary level tend to result in turns that begin with a wedge. That is a wedge christie. It is simply representative of a certain level of skill development. It is NOT a unique, specific, "beginner's turn." We do, in fact, teach "direct to parallel." But directly en route to parallel, for almost all new skiers, they will encounter a few wedges and wedge christies. Spontaneously.

On the other hand, it is worth repeating that we often do need to teach students how to handle situations in which they are defensive, where they actually do need brakes (or at least think they do, which amounts to the same thing). So we do, in fact, teach things other than the purely offensive turns that wedge christies and wedge turns and basic parallel turns represent. Stems, snowplows, hockey stops, and so on are just as much part of skiing as turns are, just as skill with the brake pedal is as critical for drivers as skill with the steering wheel and accelerator. The critical thing is just to make sure we keep these two opposite intents (go and stop, control direction and control speed, go that way and stop going this way) separate in our minds--and in our techniques.

Of course, that's not easy to do in a sport where we historically call everything we do "turning." We even call the very sport "making turns" sometimes! To me, this sad fact contributes to much of the confusion. No wonder people get confused when we call polar opposite things--and everything in between--by the same name!

Best regards,
Bob
Quote:
In the interests of clarity Bob, can you please explain, perhaps with a diagram, how starting with skis parallel, (a) || (skiing up the page) you can end up in a wedge (b) /\ (perhas with both / and \ rotated clockwise a bit) wile rotating both skis in the same direction. Is it that the new outside ski just rotaes more than the new inside ski? I'm just having trouble visualizing what has been described.

I'll try to create an animation when I find the time (not right away), Ghost. In the meantime, yes, it is exactly as you have described--both skis turn the same direction at the same time, but the new outside ski turns more quickly. For further explanation, please refer back to my post #23. Also, the illustration I posted earlier, if you look closely (and perhaps use a little imagination), shows the skis both turning into the turn simultaneously as the wedge develops. Here it is again (note frames 13, 14, and 15--both skis turn further to the left in each successive frame, even though the right one turns significantly more):

Also, the illustration of "matching" vs. "closing" shows the skis later in the turn steering to parallel as both skis turn to the left with the inside ski turning more quickly. The initiation of the next turn would be the same thing, in the other direction, with the left (new outside) ski turning more quickly than the right ski.

I will try to post an animation soon....

Best regards,
Bob

Quote:
Originally Posted by tdk6

I was thinking that if the skis were so close together that the only way of opening up into a wedge would be to push the tails out. Steering both skis into a wedge would be impossible.

To move into the fall line both skis have a bit of a distance to track while also turning. This gives lots of time to steer both feet independently because they have different rates of movement. The outside ski has a longer path so it's duration of steering will be longer  while the path of the inside ski will take less steering. Still both tips can be steered independently and together to form the wedge and take you down the hill.  The inside ski doesn't have so far to travel to form the wedge.

The points I take from Bud's text and the further clarifications is that the wedge is formed as a tool to help an early parallel  enter the fall line , balanced well , using both feet to steer a very low edged ski towards the goal of matching in the finishing phase to begin and later right after forming the wedge into the fall line.

The shape must be to allow speed control which enables lower edging which in turn allows for less resistance to steering.

TDK raised the point of forming the wedge using only the tips would shrink the platform it creates as it becoming limited by the amount the ski can be moved towards the other. The wedge doesn't have to be huge and by guiding the tips the ski is still being rotated by the feet and that will displace the tails some. By opening to engage edging you create a defensive move before an offensive one. So make them together to become a totally operator friendly medium for open parallel. Shape the turn,lower the edging  at transition and turn the feet.

Are we all on the same page now ?

It's so nice to have Bob in a talkiative mood on this subject, he types much faster than I do, and his and my thoughts on the subject are so close tp mine that all I have to say is "Yes.", 'Bravo",  etc.

Now, Bob, do you understand why I try so hard to limit my use of the word "turn" in my lessons?

fom

Quote:
Now, Bob, do you understand why I try so hard to limit my use of the word "turn" in my lessons?

Ah yes, FOM--I remember that discussion! And I'll repeat that my solution to the same problem is just the opposite: I use the word "turn" religiously, but I take great pains to make sure I restrict its use to what I consider actually to be turns--the things we do when our intent is to control direction and line precisely. When I mean "brake," I do not use the word "turn." And I do make sure that my students are clear on the distinction as well, so my carefully restricted use of the word "turn" becomes part of the lesson itself. Since "turn" creates less confusion in almost anything else--no one thinks you mean "stop" when you say "turn the car"--I often try to rely on people's understanding of the word in non-skiing contexts.

But your solution, that recognizes the potential for confusion with the word "turn" in skiing, is equally well thought out and defensible, I would say. Thanks for the reply!

Best regards,
Bob

Bob Barnes:

"Releasing the edge and guiding both skis down the hill is what you, and your student, should focus on--not "opening both skis into a wedge." If they turn at different rates, you'll have your wedge. If not, you've progressed to parallel!"

LOVE this quote Bob!

All offensive turns (wedge to world cup) come down to letting go of the mountain and helping gravity do her thing!

TDK6:

"What should a person do when his initiation is delayed or he has to change his line and ends up in a traverse and platform on the downhill ski? His only skills are wedge turn and wedge christie.

Could the by you explained proper wedge christie be performed with feet at a very close stance when matched?"

Tdk6,

This is a key to understanding the antithesis between a "stem" "bi-stem" etal and a "wedge christie",... between a braking "I don't want to got there" movement and a gliding offensive "GO" turn.

First if the skier has ended in a traverse or platform on the down hill ski, they have stopped the flow between turns, and by definition they have lost their "GO"...  BUT a recovery can be made!   From this traverse, in a very narrow stance, a GO turn can be initiated!  They key is to begin the new turn with a release of the down hill ski's grip on the earth and steer both ski tips down the fall line.  We could get into the knitty gritty all  over again but suffice it to say  since we stopped our smooth flow across the feet by ending the last turn in a traverse and are now shopping for a place to begin the next turn, we must get our Cm moving forward and over the feet again.  This will require a more active effort to move forward with the skis to remain over the sweet spot and laterally to change edges.  As Bob pointed out in one of his posts, this is not necessary when a good flow of the cm from turn to turn is present.  Once a rhythm is again established with the Cm flowing smoothly, "toppling" from turn to turn, the transitions will become free from traverses.

Examine closely Bob's diagram of "closing" vs. "matching" for help understanding the difference here.

I know from our historical conversations this concept has not yet sunk in for you or you are just stuck in a dogmatic technique that has long since passed, so I don't expect anything to change here, although all know, I and others have tried.  I am once again hopeful you will give it some thought and effort on snow to realize it has merit and can change your skiing and how you teach!?

Edited by bud heishman - 4/23/12 at 8:55pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Barnes

I will try to post an animation soon....
Best regards,
Bob

Bob, here is how I picture in my mind I would perform a stem-christie. Its an old drawing I made a while back. Opening up a stem at the top of the turn by displasing the ski tail of the uphill ski, displacing the downhill ski tail to match the uphill ski to start the skis turning and then guid both skis through the turn by steering.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Barnes

Actually, that is not the way I would describe the wedge christie (or wedge turn) that we emphasize in PSIA-Rocky Mountain, TDK6. One critical distinction, that I have alluded to above, is that in these offensive turns, both skis must turn in the same direction at the same time, just as in a parallel turn. In other words, to start (and all the way through) a right turn, both legs rotate to the right, with the skis pivoting about points under the foot--actually a little closer to the heel than to the toes. That's what is implied in Kneale's statement, at least as far as rotary movements are concerned.
If the left leg and ski turn right as the right leg and ski turn left to create a wedge (that is, the legs rotate in opposite directions), it is NOT a wedge christie by my definition.
Best regards,
Bob

I dont want to be nitpicking but I have a hard time understanding how you can go from parallel to a wedge by opening up a wedge but not so with the downhill ski and not upstemming the uphill ski as in a stem. As long as the skis are parallel the skis will not be turning. The reason the skis are turning the skier is because the uphill ski has formed a skidding angle and the friction causes the ski to redirect itself downhill if the friction is greater than the friction caused by the downhill ski. Also, when the skis are on their inside edges even if just a hint the outside ski will be trying to turn into the turn while the inside ski will be turn to the outside away from the turn. The reason the skier turns into the turn is that there is more friction on the outside/uphill ski.

Tips go in first, TDK. The reason the skier turns is because he releases the edges.

It is a difficult concept for you because it doesn't follow your ingrained focus on moving to the outside ski to make a turn.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kneale Brownson

Tips go in first, TDK. The reason the skier turns is because he releases the edges.
It is a difficult concept for you because it doesn't follow your ingrained focus on moving to the outside ski to make a turn.

I understand the consept yes. Its actually a combination of gravity, speed and relesing the edges. Its like throwing a ball vertically. Eventually it will fall to the ground. Same with a skier. Eventually you will be drawn into the fall line if you carry speed across the slope. But you still need to open up your skis in a wedge if you want to wedge. And you can speed up the "falling of the ball" if you use the BTE of the outside ski to cause friction.

TDK6,

Let me ask you this!  Looking at your drawing of the stem christie, how would you initiate a parallel turn from your traverse or a parallel turn completion?  What has to happen?  Do you hop both tails to pivot around your tips as with the stemmed ski in your drawing?  How exactly do you perform a parallel entry?

This is key because it should be the same movements as an advance wedge christie, basic christie, or wedge turn for that matter!  Please explain to us exactly how you make a parallel entry happen?

Then what do you do to make a shorter radius turn than your sidecut and flex will permit?

OK, animations finally here...

Summary of keys to the wedge christie, as discussed:
• Offensive intent--the GO! Factor--intent to control direction, not speed (with speed control indirectly, as a result of tactics and line, not directly from intentional braking); desire to gain, not lose, speed when turn starts; "go that way," not "stop going this way." Other intents (purposes) dictate different techniques, not wedge christies.
• Positive Movements--in a right turn, all intentional movements go right; skis tip right, both skis and legs turn right simultaneously (but at different rates); body (cm) moves right.
• Edge releases and both tips turn downhill, into turn at initiation and throughout the turn; NOT edge set and tails twisted/pushed out of turn into intentional skid (which is a Stem Christie).
• Wedge results spontaneously from both legs rotating into the turn, as the outside leg rotates more quickly. Matching results from continued rotation of both legs into the turn, as the inside leg rotates more quickly. Unequal rates of rotation are unintentional, but result from low skill development, and the unequal resistance on the two skis in different parts of the turn (due to the mechanics of the turn itself).
• Since intent is to control direction, not speed, skidding is unintentional. But some skidding or brushing is likely due to low skill level, and inevitable when turns are smaller than the skis can carve.
• Fundamental intent and movements are the same as for parallel turns, and wedge christies will naturally evolve to basic and then high-performance parallel turns as skill, confidence, speed, and terrain steepness increase (and offensive intent remains).

So here are the animations I promised. Let's look first at the movements of each ski separately, to see if they concur with the bullet points above. First, the left ski:

Movements and path of the left ski in wedge christies

Clearly, this ski turns continuously in the direction of the turns--it's tip moves continuously to the right in a right turn, and vice-versa, It pivots about a point somewhat aft of ski-center, and at no point is its tail twisted toward the outside of the turn. In other words, all positive movements.

Now for the right ski:

Movements and path of the right ski in wedge christies

Same thing, of course!

So let's put them together:

Movements and paths of both skis in wedge christies

Now we can see that, even though both skis and legs turn continuously and simultaneously right in a right turn (and left in a left turn), because they turn at different rates, they open into a wedge as the turn starts, and match to parallel later in the turn. The uphill (new outside) tail is NOT stemmed out at the start, as the downhill (new inside) ski releases and slips downhill into the turn. And at no point is the inside tail pulled out toward the outside tail to bring them parallel; on the contrary, the matching occurs not by pulling the tails together, but literally by pulling the tips apart--continuing the active movement of the inside tip in the direction of the turn, but more quickly now than the outside ski. No negative movements!

And at no point do the skis or legs turn (rotate) in opposite directions. That's the seeming paradox that seems to confuse many people. Clearly, one way to create a wedge position is just that--to rotate both legs internally, turning the toes or tips toward each other, in opposite directions. But that is absolutely not what happens in a wedge christie, as these animations show.

---

TDK6--I hope this makes sense to you. As others have suggested, the key is the edge release of the downhill (new inside) ski at the start of the turn. That is the missing piece in your diagram of stem christies (post #54). Note that the left ski tracks straight ahead in the first two frames (top of the picture)--in other words, its edge does not release--so it cannot turn down the hill, and the only turning to the left at the start of the turn therefore must involve the right ski, and it can only turn by twisting its tail to the left (because the other ski is in its way. Hence, a stem christie, not a wedge christie.

TDK6's illustration of a Stem Christie. Note that all movements at the turn initiation are negative movements--movements away from the turn--as first the uphill (outside) tail, then the inside tail, twist to the right in this left turn. This sequential "tails-out" movement pattern is the opposite of the simultaneous "tips into the turn" movement pattern of a wedge christie. In typical "real" situations, these negative movements of the skis will accompany a negative movement uphill of the body (cm) as the turn starts, causing an active weight transfer to the outside ski, but involving movements literally in the wrong direction (IF, and only if, the skier's intent is actually to go downhill, and gain speed in the process!).. Remember--stem christies and "negative movements" are not necessarily "bad skiing." They are appropriate, and commonly used even by expert skiers, when the intent is to brake, to "stop going this way," to slow down and minimize downhill movement as the skis turn. They are essential movements in a skier's repertoire, just as the brakes are critical for a car. Important techniques, but still (I maintain) bad habits. And simply, not wedge christies.

Best regards,
Bob
Here are still montages based on the animations above, to help with discussion:

Since some people like to see the fall line pointing down, and others prefer to see it pointing up, I've done it both ways. The frame numbers are the same for each one. The little white arrows indicate the skier's intended rotary input--both tips into the turn, from start to finish.

Best regards,
Bob
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