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How to initiate a turn from a stop on a steep slope?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I'm standing on a steep slope and the snow conditions are sub-par. My skis are completely perpendicular to the fall line. I'm stopped. I want to execute a very tight turn and then stop again.

How exactly do I initiate an aggressive (tight) turn from this position?

My basic technique right now for initiating the turn is.
1) Chest faced down the fall line.
2) Shift my body weight towards the front of my skis aggressively so that the ski tips start to fall down the hill.
3) Probably throw in a pole plant somewhere near the point I'd like to pivot around.

Once I'm headed downhill and I can weight my outer ski, then I can finish the turn fine. However, the first half of the turn gross. It's hard doing this from a dead stop because there are no forces at play (centripetal/centrifugal) during initiation from a stop. If I lean into the turn, then I'd fall over.

The end result is that I break form in one way or another. I wish I had video of myself but I'm guessing that most often I start turning my uphill (outer ski) while keeping my other ski perpendicular to the fall line. In other words, I go a little pizza until things start moving to help get myself facing downhill. While I am breaking form, I may even lift my inner ski to help it make the turn.

Are my basic steps correct?
Is there anything else I should be doing with my arms, hips, chest, skis, ankles, etc. to make this work?

I assume at some point (really steep stuff,) I would add in a jump??

Thanks in advance for any pointers.
Edited by steve2222 - 11/25/12 at 7:07pm
post #2 of 12
Hi Steve--

I wouldn't worry too much about that first turn. You're right that it begins, by definition, from a standstill, so there will be no momentum to help you, no rhythm to carry on, and so on. But it's just one turn--who cares if it's a little ugly? Do whatever you have to do--hop, twist, stem, whatever--to get your skis turned down the hill, then "start" your run from there--let 'em run a little to get some speed, then finish that first turn and carry your rhythm into the rest of the run.

But if you really want to think about making that first turn "better," I suggest that you're already on the right track--with one likely exception. I recommend that you rethink your second point--"Shift my body weight towards the front of my skis aggressively so that the ski tips start to fall down the hill." To get your skis to turn down the hill easily, you need to release those tips, not bury them deeper into the soft snow. At the same time, you do need to move your body down the hill, so that you will remain in balance as your skis take off in that direction. But shifting your weight toward your tips is a movement across the hill--which is not the right direction. Play with this!

And if the snow is really quite deep, you can consider the so-called "Alta Start." It is a move expressly intended to eliminate the problems you've described in the deep, steep powder Alta is famous for. It involves literally starting your first turn with your skis pointed straight downhill, rather than across the hill. Bury your ski tails, one at a time, into the deep snow, with your skis pointing directly toward the valley below, but tilted slightly up so you can stand there, tips in the air, until you're ready to go. To go, just push forward (down the hill), tip your ski tips down...and go!


The "Alta Start," from The Complete Encyclopedia of Skiing, upcoming (eventually) edition.

Have fun!

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #3 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by steve2222 View Post

I'm standing on a steep slope and the snow conditions are sub-par. My skis are completely perpendicular to the fall line. I'm stopped. I want to execute a very tight turn and then stop again.
 

Kick turn?

 

http://www.adventure-journal.com/2010/03/60-second-expert-how-to-make-a-skiing-kick-turn/

post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks for these pointers. I'll give them a shot.
post #5 of 12

How about the pedal hop turn?

 

If that's too steep just rotate the video 90 degrees counter clockwise. Do not attempt to make this turn wearing green pants and a plaid shirt. This man is a professional!

post #6 of 12

My first impression is that the desire to make a quick turn to a stop sounds very defensive. Especially when you compare it to what Bob is saying about carrying rhythm into the rest of the run. Yes steep slopes make us think about falling all the way to the bottom but if all you do is one turn to a stop, all you are doing is losing a few feet of elevation. That strong focus on stopping at the end of that first turn needs to change to a strong focus on not stopping between turns and carrying some momentum into that next turn, and every turn after that. Someone I know calls that the go factor and it's the key to skiing offensively on any slope. Which brings up another related idea. If you brake on steep slopes, chances are you are doing that on less steep slopes as well. Go to a easier run and play with the idea of round turns and smooth releases that allow you to carry momentum and develop the rhythm Bob mentioned into the next few turns. Then try doing that for an entire run. When that feels comfortable take it to steeper terrain but don't lose that strong focus on not stopping. Eventually you will find yourself on the same steep runs where those first turns are giving you trouble but instead of thinking about perfect single turns to a stop, you will be thinking about linking multiple turns and getting to the bottom instead of trying to avoid going there.

post #7 of 12

Nice video TR, at that extreme level, braking makes sense but I wonder if we need pedal hop turns outside of extremes like a sixty degree couloir?

post #8 of 12

Good suggestions, but you also need to scream YEEEEEEEEHAAAAAAWWWW!!!yahoo.gif

post #9 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by justanotherskipro View Post

Nice video TR, at that extreme level, braking makes sense but I wonder if we need pedal hop turns outside of extremes like a sixty degree couloir?

 

well are we talking 40-50* (big difference I know) keep in mind that this dude is probably on 216 straight ski's. Short & more sidecut makes it easier. I need to search but there is some great examples of Davenport making a  pivot slip type of turn that allows you to keep both skis on the snow.  Gotta search.

 

For now, I found this example of a relaxed turn on some very steep stuff,  If you don't want to watch it all, skip ahead to about 2:00

 

 


Edited by Finndog - 11/27/12 at 12:43pm
post #10 of 12
Try gently hopping up and down a liitle a couple of times to get to feeling dynamic and to cause a little side slipping. Than plant your downhill pole and turn.
post #11 of 12

Assume an anticipated countered position then release your edges slowly until the tips dive into the fall line.  Works great in powder too!smile.gif

post #12 of 12
All good advice above. The trick is finding which one takes you over the initial hesitation barrier. This discussion reminds me of my first few steep powder runs and how I was kinda locked-up at the top worrying over my first turn. Since that first day I've used probably all of the above suggested strategies. Here's another one.

If the terrain allows it, sort out a starting line that lets you go diagonally (as opposed to straight down the fall line) and use those first few running feet to feel comfortable in your first turn, then start the turn. Remember that powder will slow you down more than firm snow would on the same steep pitch. You have more time than you think.
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