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Losing Speed in GS Turns

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 

Hey everyone,

 

I'm an advanced skiier, have been skiing for 20 years or so, and recently started doing some recreational races.

 

Having never skiied in between the flags, however, one thing I found when doing GS is that I lose basically all my speed around the really tight turn. I know how to carve, and I was carving, and no matter what I look for online I can't figure out how to improve that part of my skiing.

 

Should I be doing something with my hands?

 

Should I try and work on getting a better edge for my carving?

 

Do I need to move my body forward more going into the turn?

 

Any advice would be super helpful! I can find a ton of advanced guides to GS turns, but not a lot that cover the real basics.

post #2 of 27

Difficult to say what is going on without video.

Are you sure both skis were tracking in the same direction?

Are you sure you were carving edge locked, i.e. no drifting?

- My guess is that you are brushing off more speed than you think. If you have a clean edge locked carve you should not lose that much speed.

Did you plan the line, i.e. to be high before the tight gate?

-  A tight turn always loses some speed, and if it is flat you may have to plan a rounder line. If it is steep it may pay off more with a straighter line.

What kind of transition are you using? if it is tight you may have to use an agressive retraction. If you are not, chances are you are pushing, which is slow.

post #3 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by redbridge View Post

Hey everyone,

 

I'm an advanced skiier, have been skiing for 20 years or so, and recently started doing some recreational races.

 

Having never skiied in between the flags, however, one thing I found when doing GS is that I lose basically all my speed around the really tight turn. I know how to carve, and I was carving, and no matter what I look for online I can't figure out how to improve that part of my skiing.

 

Should I be doing something with my hands?

 

Should I try and work on getting a better edge for my carving?

 

Do I need to move my body forward more going into the turn?

 

Any advice would be super helpful! I can find a ton of advanced guides to GS turns, but not a lot that cover the real basics.

 

Hi Red,

 

Well the only thing I can say for sure, if that you lose speed when you stop carving and start skidding.  So I dont beleive that you are carving.  When people stop carving...its also most likley the tighter turns...its easy to carve long lazy arcs, the tighter the arc, the harder it is to carve.

 

What is causing your issues could be lots of things - post a video or even a few still pics if you have them.

post #4 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamt View Post

Difficult to say what is going on without video.

Are you sure both skis were tracking in the same direction?

Are you sure you were carving edge locked, i.e. no drifting?

- My guess is that you are brushing off more speed than you think. If you have a clean edge locked carve you should not lose that much speed.

Did you plan the line, i.e. to be high before the tight gate?

-  A tight turn always loses some speed, and if it is flat you may have to plan a rounder line. If it is steep it may pay off more with a straighter line.

What kind of transition are you using? if it is tight you may have to use an agressive retraction. If you are not, chances are you are pushing, which is slow.

Thanks for this!! Sadly, I don't have video or pictures, I wish I did.

 

Both skis were definitely in the same direction, I think I must have been drifting really, and not carving with my edge locked from what you say.

 

I actually found ALL of the gates to be tight, although I did try to be high before the gates. I don't know what you mean by tight and pushing transitions, sorry!

 

What can I do to improve my carving in tight turns? How do I stop my skis from skidding out and washing away my speed?

 

Thanks to both of you for the help!

post #5 of 27

Sounds like you need to work on tightening you line. Increase edge angles (angulation) and have faster transitions (retraction).

If you don't know what these things are I suggest you do some reading, e.g. Ron Le Masters book is a good start to get the basics.

post #6 of 27

...and, get some real time coaching. Lots of knowledge in this forum, but you really need a coach to help you out on the hill....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamt View Post

Sounds like you need to work on tightening you line. Increase edge angles (angulation) and have faster transitions (retraction).

If you don't know what these things are I suggest you do some reading, e.g. Ron Le Masters book is a good start to get the basics.

post #7 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkiRacer55 View Post

...and, get some real time coaching. Lots of knowledge in this forum, but you really need a coach to help you out on the hill....

Ditto...vital to have a knowledgeble eye watching!  Jamt's point regarding high and tight was good. Getting most of the turn done before/at the gate allows you to stay on line, generally...turn transition "across the hill", in between gates shouldn't  require much pressure (and sometimes none) If you are "low and late" you end up scrubbing speed to make the next one. Make sure you look ahead 2-3 gates when you can so you know what's coming and aren't caught off guardeek.gif

 

  zenny

post #8 of 27

It is also worth recognizing that skiing well in the gates is a new skill set and it takes practice to get it. Most people who are new to skiing gates have errors in both their technique and their tactics (picking how to ski the course). When you said you found all the gates to be tight, that is a clear sign you need lots more time in the gates. If there is a local mountain with Nastar, running it will help you get used to just being in gates and learning to look ahead, plus some of the other people there may be able to put you in touch with coaching. If you are in an area where you can get coaching it will be a real benefit. If not there are race clinics from a few days to a week that will help.

post #9 of 27

Most new racers  / good skiers have more of a tactical problem than a technical problem.  With limited data, I would guess you are "late and low."  When it comes to GS, the name fo the game is ABC - Always be carvin.  As soon as you come around a gate hold the carve and keep a high line.  Most new racers tend to charge from gate to gate while a round higher turn is actually faster. If you are having to jam onthe brakes to make a turn, you line is prob low and the effect is cumulative - you get lower and lower and later and later.

 

Try holding the turn a half a heartbeet longer ACROSS the fall line before quickly transitioning to the opposite edges. 

 

Let us know how it works out.  Get some video

post #10 of 27
Good advice, but please recognize that if the turn is very tight, you cannot carve the top if the turn.
A pivot to get the skis in the right direction, followed by carving will not scrub off any .

But it has to be done right after the transition.
If you start carving, then realize that you can't make the turn, and then you try to change direction, you will skid, and scrub off speed.
post #11 of 27
Thread Starter 

Thanks everyone, for all the advice!

 

I definitely will be getting coaching, I'm going to a clinic after the New Year, but I'm also going on a seven day trip before then, and I want to be able to practice the things I need to work on by myself during that trip, when I won't have a coach!

post #12 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by rod9301 View Post

Good advice, but please recognize that if the turn is very tight, you cannot carve the top if the turn.
A pivot to get the skis in the right direction, followed by carving will not scrub off any .
But it has to be done right after the transition.
If you start carving, then realize that you can't make the turn, and then you try to change direction, you will skid, and scrub off speed.

 

I think I'd just work at getting the line right and working on a clean carve first... I haven't seen many stivot turns in a rec GS course... or on a flat GS course at any level. smile.gif

post #13 of 27
I guess I didn't realize it was a flat course, and of course, youre right, learn to carve first.
post #14 of 27
Thread Starter 

It definitely wasn't a flat course I was on! I don't know how to judge the difficulty of GS courses, but it was on what I would consider an average difficulty blue run. 

post #15 of 27

1.  What skis are you on, redbridge?  I'm wondering what the waist width is, and what the turn radius is too, among other things.  Of course it's not the arrow, it's the Indian, but some arrows are not as good as others in the gates.  

 

2.  Was this a Nastar course, or something else?  If Nastar, you can track your handicap online at Nastar.com.  It's the handicap that you want to compare from day to day, and course to course at different resorts.  You want that handicap to go down.  That will tell you that you are getting faster.

 

3.  How close to the gates were you as you went around them?  Which part of you came the closest to actually touching the gates, your skis, your hip, your shoulder?   Your shoulder is preferable, and it should be the back of your shoulder, not the front.  As a general rule for Nastar type courses (and rules are made to be broken), the back of your shoulder should just lightly brush the gate.  Do not slam the front of your shoulder into it. 

 

4.  If there were other tracks on the course, were yours following along with the majority, or curving around farther out, or did your tracks pass around the gate above or below everyone else's?  In a public course such as Nastar, it's often good to have your tracks pass above and inside the majority (until it's so rutted up that you have no choice), since most people are low and late around the gates.

 

5.  When do you think your new turns started:  exactly between two gates, before that, or right before the upcoming gate?  At the "start" of your turns, what was happening at the level of your skis ... were you releasing your old outside ski, or had you already released and were your skis moving from flat to their new edges?  

 

There's a lot to think about when racing.  It's a whole new ball game.  

post #16 of 27
Thread Starter 

1. I'm on Volkl Attiva Aurora skis from 2011 in 161 cm, with a turn radius of either 15.1 or 16.1m (I can't remember, but it's one of the two). It's got a wide waist, somewhere in the 80mm range.

 

2. It was not a NASTAR course, that sounds like a really handy tool they have though!

 

3. I'm not 100% sure, but I was probably around 2-3 feet from the gates. I never touched any of them, but it was my shoulder which was the closest to the gates at all time, that I'm certain of. 

 

4. I didn't pay huge attention to the other tracks, but at one point there was a huge buildup of powder after one turn, and I noticed that my skis passed through this part around the bottom, which I guess would have meant that I went through the following gate lower than everyone else, which definitely points towards me being low and late.

 

5. I think I considered the new turns to start before the gate (I had heard the "skis should be pointing at the next gate when you pass the current gate" thing before, and I noticed that I was adhering to that rule when I was going). I would say I probably considered the turns to be around 3/4 of the way past the previous gate towards the next one. At what I considered to be the beginning of a turn my skis were moving from flat to their new edge.

 

You're totally right, there was soooo much to think about! I knew it would be tough, but I didn't realize just how many things have to go through your head while you're doing it!

post #17 of 27

Well, with a waist at 80mm or so those skis take a few microseconds longer to get up on edge compared to 60something or 70something waists.  But that's important if you are comparing yourself to other skiers, not if you are comparing your turns at the top of the course to your turns at the bottom of the course.  

 

Try releasing very early, starting your next turn high and way before you get to the upcoming gate. Plan your turns so that the apex is a bit out beyond the gate and above it.  Just as you begin to turn back in the other direction your shoulder should come close to brushing that gate.  In other words, FINISH your turn AT the gate.  That will get you high.  This advice is for when the course has some pitch; when it gets flattish, you don't need to be high.

 

When it's flat, try tuck turns.  Practice these while free-skiing.  Maintain a forward stance while tucking; avoid getting aft.  Look at pictures online; don't do tuck turns the way you see the general public doing it.  There are some real odd ideas of tuck form out there.

 

How tight you can make those turns while holding onto a carve will change with time.  Assume that you are not going to be able to carve your turns as a beginner, even though while free-skiing you can carve when you want.  Just try to ski a good line as described above.  Get close to the gate with your shoulder, not with your skis ( eek.gif ), and work on looking two gates ahead so you can see the line you are planning on skiing.  

 

Once you get your brain and body trained to do these things, you can focus on all the things involved in holding a carve.  Coaching can help. Seek out Nastar courses and you'll get a good record of your progress.

 

Enjoy!

post #18 of 27
Thread Starter 

Thank you SO MUCH for all of that advice! I really, really appreciate it. You've given me a ton to think about and to work on during my week before I get to see a coach!

 

Cheers!

post #19 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by redbridge View Post

1. I'm on Volkl Attiva Aurora skis from 2011 in 161 cm, with a turn radius of either 15.1 or 16.1m (I can't remember, but it's one of the two). It's got a wide waist, somewhere in the 80mm range.

 

2. It was not a NASTAR course, that sounds like a really handy tool they have though!

 

3. I'm not 100% sure, but I was probably around 2-3 feet from the gates. I never touched any of them, but it was my shoulder which was the closest to the gates at all time, that I'm certain of. 

 

4. I didn't pay huge attention to the other tracks, but at one point there was a huge buildup of powder after one turn, and I noticed that my skis passed through this part around the bottom, which I guess would have meant that I went through the following gate lower than everyone else, which definitely points towards me being low and late.

 

5. I think I considered the new turns to start before the gate (I had heard the "skis should be pointing at the next gate when you pass the current gate" thing before, and I noticed that I was adhering to that rule when I was going). I would say I probably considered the turns to be around 3/4 of the way past the previous gate towards the next one. At what I considered to be the beginning of a turn my skis were moving from flat to their new edge.

 

You're totally right, there was soooo much to think about! I knew it would be tough, but I didn't realize just how many things have to go through your head while you're doing it!

 

sounds like the classic "straight and late" where if you look at your track it is more like a Z than an S.  You are aiming straight gate to gate at and as a result leaving yourself too tight to make a clean turn (pinching) , getting lower and lower and having to scub more and also not getting any real pressure on the ski to generate power and speed.  

post #20 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by redbridge View Post

It definitely wasn't a flat course I was on! I don't know how to judge the difficulty of GS courses, but it was on what I would consider an average difficulty blue run. 

That is flat :-)

Flat may be the wrong term, but what I meant here is that on a steep part of the course you have to scrub off speed otherwise you blow off sooner or later. Since you anyway have to scrub off speed you may do that by straightening the line. On a "flat" part it is much more important to maintain speed, a rounder, carving line is necessary.

post #21 of 27
Thread Starter 

^^ Oh, ok, sorry, I didn't realize that was what you meant by flat! 

 

Definitely going to practice to make sure I'm doing S and not Z.

post #22 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by redbridge View Post

 

Having never skiied in between the flags, however, one thing I found when doing GS is that I lose basically all my speed around the really tight turn. I know how to carve, and I was carving, and no matter what I look for online I can't figure out how to improve that part of my skiing.

 

Should I be doing something with my hands?

 

Should I try and work on getting a better edge for my carving?

 

Do I need to move my body forward more going into the turn?

 

Any advice would be super helpful! I can find a ton of advanced guides to GS turns, but not a lot that cover the real basics.

 

 

I just started racing about 6 years ago after 35 years of skiing.  Like you I was a pretty good free skier but did not have any race training.  During the first couple of race seasons, I became dismayed that racers who could't touch me free skiing, were kicking my ass on the race course.  Why?  They had learned some basic race skills and I was just trying to ski fast through the gates.

 

Like you, I thought I was carving, but in reality I was skidding and braking through the turns.  After getting some coaching from other racers and a few race clinics, this is what I learned.

 

Turn early!  If you don't start your turn early, you will be playing catch up as you initiate your turn and the gate is right there and you will need to put on the brakes to make that gate therefore already making you late for the next gate.  If there is one bit of advice that helped me more than anything, this is it.  TURN EARLY!!! 

 

Keep your hands up and in front of you.  This will help you keep your weight forward,  You don't ever want to be in the back seat in a race.

 

Keep pressure on the front of your boots and drive them through the turn.  It is much easier to do this if you are doing the above and keeping your hands up and in front of you.

 

Finally you have to get low when you are in your turn.  Not in the back seat, but driving forward in your boots with all of your leg muscles to pressure the edges into the snow, putting your edges on angle to slice and hold you in your carve.  Look at pictures of the pro racers, when they are at the apex of the turn, their ass is almost on the ground, their legs way out from under their body center with the edges on an extreme angle where you can read the bottom graphics of the ski.

 

That is all I got.

 

Rick G

 

PS  TURN EARLY!!!!

post #23 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rickg View Post

 

 

I just started racing about 6 years ago after 35 years of skiing.  Like you I was a pretty good free skier but did not have any race training.  During the first couple of race seasons, I became dismayed that racers who could't touch me free skiing, were kicking my ass on the race course.  Why?  They had learned some basic race skills and I was just trying to ski fast through the gates.

 

Like you, I thought I was carving, but in reality I was skidding and braking through the turns.  After getting some coaching from other racers and a few race clinics, this is what I learned.

 

Turn early!  If you don't start your turn early, you will be playing catch up as you initiate your turn and the gate is right there and you will need to put on the brakes to make that gate therefore already making you late for the next gate.  If there is one bit of advice that helped me more than anything, this is it.  TURN EARLY!!! 

 

Keep your hands up and in front of you.  This will help you keep your weight forward,  You don't ever want to be in the back seat in a race.

 

Keep pressure on the front of your boots and drive them through the turn.  It is much easier to do this if you are doing the above and keeping your hands up and in front of you.

 

Finally you have to get low when you are in your turn.  Not in the back seat, but driving forward in your boots with all of your leg muscles to pressure the edges into the snow, putting your edges on angle to slice and hold you in your carve.  Look at pictures of the pro racers, when they are at the apex of the turn, their ass is almost on the ground, their legs way out from under their body center with the edges on an extreme angle where you can read the bottom graphics of the ski.

 

That is all I got.

 

Rick G

 

PS  TURN EARLY!!!!

Thanks Rick!! It's nice to know I'm not the first person to have gone through this! I really appreciate your advice :)

post #24 of 27

when you think you're forward, you are still in the back seat. when your shins start to hurt at the bottom of the run, then you are getting forward.

 

get forward through the turn and stay with the skis, don't let them get ahead of you.

 

you can control speed in two ways: the simple way is to scrub speed at the top of the turn by skidding - that can mess with your line. The (more advanced maybe) other way is to tighten the arc at the end of the turn and absorb the rebound from the skis.

 

also, its ok to scrub some speed, if you can make it up - it's a basic skill, to rebound the ski into the next turn. Do you experience something that feels like rebounding off the skis into the next turn? you can practice that in free ski...

 

oh, and he's right - TURN EARLY and try to hit the gate with the hip and the back of the shoulder at the same time.

post #25 of 27

Another skill you will need to learn, and it takes a long time, is to read the course. I find it best to look at the most difficult turn, not necessarily difficult to make, but to make properly, for example a sharp turn before a flat while carrying the most speed into the flat. When I figure the best way to make the hardest turn, I think about how best to get into the turn - where do I want to enter the turn and what line do I want to be on when I do. I then work backwards turn to turn to figure out my line for each turn looking at the condition of the track, the fall lines, etc. etc. I think about where might I slide a bit - what do I do if I am low, etc. It is a demanding process and I know that I don't do nearly as well at it as people who raced a lot more than I have. I have only been racing for about 7 or 8 years. I have read that Lindsay Vonn says she reviews a course 100 times in her head before a race. I am lucky if I can remember all of it and I never have enough time between inspection and the start to go over it more than a few times. The best approach is to ask more experienced racers what to look for during inspection at first. It is hard but lots of fun and it will make you a better skier.

post #26 of 27

Of course, the method of inspection that works best for you might not be anywhere close to this detailed. Some people ski best with a quick cursory inspection to get the general feel and flow of the course, and suffer from information overload if they try to analyze it too much.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by vsirin View Post

Another skill you will need to learn, and it takes a long time, is to read the course. I find it best to look at the most difficult turn, not necessarily difficult to make, but to make properly, for example a sharp turn before a flat while carrying the most speed into the flat. When I figure the best way to make the hardest turn, I think about how best to get into the turn - where do I want to enter the turn and what line do I want to be on when I do. I then work backwards turn to turn to figure out my line for each turn looking at the condition of the track, the fall lines, etc. etc. I think about where might I slide a bit - what do I do if I am low, etc. It is a demanding process and I know that I don't do nearly as well at it as people who raced a lot more than I have. I have only been racing for about 7 or 8 years. I have read that Lindsay Vonn says she reviews a course 100 times in her head before a race. I am lucky if I can remember all of it and I never have enough time between inspection and the start to go over it more than a few times. The best approach is to ask more experienced racers what to look for during inspection at first. It is hard but lots of fun and it will make you a better skier.

post #27 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by bruins14sammy View Post

Of course, the method of inspection that works best for you might not be anywhere close to this detailed. Some people ski best with a quick cursory inspection to get the general feel and flow of the course, and suffer from information overload if they try to analyze it too much.

 

The above is 100% right. I often can't do this type of detailed inspection because of time and as I race more I can get a feel quicker particularly for a  course that isn't tricky. I am not a coach, although the method I outlined is the one I learned from my best coach. I have no idea what other people think of or see when they do inspections. But as a new racer, hopefully this will give the OP some ideas of what to look for. I know that my first year or two racing, I'd do inspections with no idea what I was supposed to see or what I was looking at.

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