DoubleDiamond223--thanks for posting your video for discussion (not something for the timid!).
As I see it, you are making smoothly linked, fairly "complete" (finish across the hill more than down it) turns with solid ski performance (that is, you're tipping the skis and getting them to bend, generally leaving the thin, clean tracks of carved turns, using rotary skills to keep the skis on line through the "float phase" with minimal need to twist them into a skid or push them sideways to get them on edge). Unlike some of the posters above, I have less concern about your fore-aft balance, as you're pretty consistently getting the pressure on the "sweet spot" where it matters--through the pressure/carving/shaping phase of the turns.
What happens between
these pressure phases--that is, in the transition or "float phase," has been much discussed in previous threads but comments here reveal still some misunderstanding and misinformation about fore-aft movements and their effects--and fore-aft pressure and its causes (and effects, for that matter). Here is an image of you, around 0:23 in the video, that shows your feet considerably forward (in the direction your skis point) of your body (center of mass) in the transition phase, shortly after the new direction change has started, but well before your edges have engaged and your skis have started carving the new left turn:Hips behind feet, tips in the air--is this a mistake? Not necessarily....
Many would declare you here dysfunctionally "in the back seat," and suggest that you either move your body (center of mass or, perhaps, hips) "forward" or else pull your feet "back" (which amounts to the very same thing, depending on your preferred perspective). Pay them little attention! It is a necessary move, as you allow your feet to move from "behind you" to "in front of you" as you ski across the hill in the transition (assuming that your goal is to link smoothly carved turns with no pivoting or twisting or pushing the tails out into a skid to start the turn). At this point, you are in the "float phase," with little-to-no pressure on your skis. You are, essentially, "decoupled" from your skis, and your body and skis are in free flight, independently of each other, across the hill in slightly different directions and at different speeds--feet faster than body. As you appear to realize, you must allow this movement to happen, if you seek clean edge re-engagement in the upcoming pressure phase, properly inclined into the turn such that you will not need to twist or push your feet sideways for balance on the carving skis.
Ironically, this move--which appears to occur in the fore-aft plane--is what lets your skis get out away from your body, off to (what will be, later in the pressure phase) your right, with the inclination necessary for balance when the edges re-engage. In effect, it is a fore-aft movement in the initiation phase that will result in inclination and tipping (which most people would call "lateral" movements) later in the pressure/carving phase. I like to describe it also as "balancing in the fourth dimension"--moving now
(in the float phase, where you are not supported by your feet and therefore cannot, technically, be "in" or "out" of balance) to create balance later,
in the pressure phase (where it does matter).
So this is NOT a dysfunctional "backseat" moment. Indeed, if you overdo it and let your feet get too far "ahead of" you, you will end up not too far back, but too far to the inside
of the new turn--too far inclined, often requiring your inside ski for support. In fact, sometimes you do get a bit too far inside, as you have said, which may account for your wide-ish leg separation (for support) and the occasional divergence of the inside ski in the top half of the turn, as you steer that inside leg underneath you to keep from falling over. Even this is not always a bad thing. It is, essentially, the explanation for the so-called "White Pass Turn," made famous by Phil and Steve Mahre in the 1970's and '80's, and still not uncommonly seen in World Cup turns. The White Pass Turn begins with balance on the inside
ski. As the turn develops and the skis begin to carve back toward you, pressure (and balance) returns to the outside ski.
So don't let anyone convince you that you are getting "in the back seat" there, much less that you need to "fix" it by moving your body (center of mass) "forward" (in the direction the skis point), along with ankle flexion (dorsiflexion) or "pulling your feet back" (from the direction the skis point) through the transition. That's still common advice, unfortunately, but it will lay waste to something you're doing very well!
So what about all the advise about how important it is to "get forward" to start a turn? It's not wrong in itself, but many skiers, including even high-level instructors and race coaches, commonly misinterpret it, leading to the dead wrong move! You do, in fact tend to move appropriately "forward" as you start your turns--that "back seat" appearance notwithstanding. How do you do it? You move "forward"--again ironically--by moving laterally
in the transition. Again, just as you get "inside" and create inclination and tipping by moving (what appears to be) "back," you get "forward" by moving sideways in the transition!
For some, this paradoxical statement may require some real thinking to grasp. The key to understanding it is to recognize that "forward," for practical purposes, means not necessarily "the direction your skis point," but down the hill.
And which direction is "down the hill" in the transition, when you're skiing across the hill? Of course, it is off to your side.
Here's a rough photo-sequence (from around 0:25 in the video) that shows your transition from a head-on perspective, as you get "forward" (down the hill) by moving laterally:DD223 moves across his skis and downhill in a transition.
Some call this "cross-over," some call it "cross-under," but really it is just a question of perspective (frame of reference). The key is that the body, relative to the feet, moves laterally--or that the feet move laterally relative to the body. "Same difference," as they say. (Some differentiate these terms as implying "extension" for cross-over or "retraction/flexion" for cross-under. It is a contrived distinction certainly not inherent in the terms, so I prefer to avoid the potential for confusion and generally avoid them.) I just call it the "X-Move"--describing the critical crossing of the separate paths of the body (CM) and the skis in the transition. (More on the flexion-extension ("up-down" movement), which occurs independently of these fore-aft and lateral movements, later....)
In any case, If we can define "forward" to mean "down the hill," you are clearly moving that way in this transition! Here's an animation of the same four frames, that may show it even more clearly:Animation of the same transition, around 0:25 in DD223's video, clearly showing the "X-Move" as the paths of the skis and the body cross. He gets "forward" (down the hill from his feet) by moving laterally in the transition.
So--there's a lot going right in these transitions, with the result that you are usually able to engage your edges cleanly in the upcoming "pressure" or carving phase, well-balanced over the "sweet spot" and enabling your skis to carve cleanly. Rotary skills keep your (unweighted) skis on-track through this "float phase" when they are, of course, not carving. Accurate fore-aft movements allow your skis to move out to (what will be, in the pressure phase) the side, creating substantial inclination and edge angle early in the turn. And confident lateral movements in the transition allow you to move downhill, toward the fall line, resulting in accurate fore-aft pressure later in the pressure/carving phase.
Here's a sequence of Laure Pequegnot, of France, clearly demonstrating the movements just discussed, in a World Cup winning run at Copper Mountain a few years back. You will, of course, find many other images showing these movements here at EpicSki, on Ron LeMaster's great website
, and anywhere else you see great skiing:
Notice the similarity of the middle frame here to the first image of you above!
---Now, what can you do better?
Originally Posted by doublediamond223
I'd like to see more powerful turn exits and more lateral deflection.
To be blunt, you won't see that with the flexion-extension ("up-down" movements), and timing thereof, that you appear to be emphasizing.
In your video, you are making exclusively "retraction turn" transitions--clearly on purpose (yes, I know where it comes from). Such transitions are critical in any good skier's arsenal of movement options, in many conditions, and particularly in quick, tight slalom turns (not to mention, moguls). They can result in very quick transitions with early edge re-engagement in the new turn--something I suspect you are looking for. And they can be an effective corrective or recovery move if you overdo the "forward movement" of your feet in the transition, getting your skis too far out from under you, allowing them to carve quickly back toward you.
But in most of these turns (your video), just as your skis begin to really push you across the hill--just as the "lateral deflection" you seek really ramps up--you suck your feet up toward your body, effectively sucking the life right out of the end of the turn. If you want to "stop sucking" (even at this very high level
) you'll need to reconsider these movements, and allow yourself to do something that it appears you forbid yourself from doing here. You'll need some active, well-timed and properly directed, extension
movement as you exit your shaping/pressure/carving phase. At the very least, you'll need to resist
the pressure from your skis as they try to push you across the hill, right where you currently tend to retract or flex.
Consider the movements of bouncing high on a trampoline. You would "land" on the trampoline with legs substantially extended, and then flex your legs and entire body as the pressure builds, stretching the springs of the tramp as you coil your body in preparation for an explosive extension
when the pressure reaches the maximum. The movements you tend to make in your video are just the opposite--when the pressure begins to max out, you flex your legs, effectively absorbing the (more lateral, because your skis are highly tipped at this moment) "push" from your skis. On a trampoline, that timing is what you would use to stop
jumping, to prevent the tramp from pushing on you.
So for more "lateral deflection" in your turns, you will need to give yourself permission to extend--often vigorously--when the pressure builds on your skis. Extend out of the pressure phase--not through the transition--when your skis are still tipped on edge and you are still inclined deeply into the turn, so that the extension accelerates you across the hill (not necessarily "up").
Keep in mind that the explosive effort I'm describing, while it may involve literally extending your legs and body at times, may also simply involve "not flexing" as you powerfully resist the forces of your skis pushing against you. It is effectively the same thing--a powerful push against the forces from the snow pushing against you. Sometimes you'll actually extend, sometimes you won't. It depends largely on how powerful the forces you're dealing with in a given turn are, as well as how much "lateral deflection" you're looking for. Either way, it will be a far cry from the quick, active retraction/flexion at the same time that your turns show in the video.
And it does not preclude flexing through the transition, either. Indeed, in many turns there are actually two
separate flexing and extending phases--again, not unlike the trampoline. Visualize, from the start of a turn--from the moment the two lines of the body and the skis cross. Hit "pause" at this moment in your visualization. Your body is directly over your feet. In order to prevent pressure from building on your skis too early (before you are sufficiently inclined into the new turn)--especially if there is a rise or a mogul at this moment--you are quite low and "flexed." Now hit "play"--your skis and feet, which are traveling faster across the hill than your body, move away from you, developing the inclination that will tip your skis and provide balance once you "land" on them at the beginning of the new pressure phase. As your feet move away, your legs extend, reaching out toward the "landing point" (analogous to extending prior to landing on the trampoline). Then you "land" as the skis quickly gain pressure at the beginning of the carving phase (and the trampoline begins to push against your feet). Now you begin to flex and "coil" to store the energy that you will release at the end of the pressure phase. As the pressure reaches its maximum, you stop flexing and actively resist the forces of the skis (or trampoline), pushing and extending to gain maximum "lift" off the trampoline, or maximum "lateral deflection" across the hill on your skis. Then, suddenly, the pressure is gone--you're airborne again off the trampoline, and pretty much weightless if not actually airborne on skis as you enter the "float phase," letting your momentum carry you across the hill on skis, or high in the air off the trampoline. At this point, you have the option, at least, of flexing your legs again--pulling your feet up under you in the air off the trampoline, retracting your legs as your feet and skis come back under you as you exit the turn. Two extension phases, two retraction phases....
To make the trampoline analogy even more obvious, visualize two trampolines tilted at an angle, and you are bouncing back and forth between them. Like this:Bouncing between two trampolines--two flexion phases, two extension phases.
Notice that "Tramp Man" is flexed low at his highest point in the air between the trampolines. He extends as he reaches his legs toward the trampoline as he approaches the "landing." He flexes again as the springs of the trampoline stretch, coiling up for the explosive extension from the trampoline that will launch him across the other direction. He might need to flex even more in the "transition" if he needed to clear an obstacle like a bar (or a mogul) between the tramps. Consider that how "high" he must jump is determined by several things--particularly, how far apart the trampolines are (more distance requires more "up") and how fast he's moving between the trampolines (faster means flatter trajectory--less "up"). Skiing is much the same, and sometimes that active extension will indeed involve significant "up" movement. Sometimes it won't.
(Notice, too, how critically important it is that Tramp Man allows his feet to move more quickly than his body across the screen, so that he will be inclined and properly balanced when he lands on the next trampoline. Imagine the disaster if he were to think he needed to move his body "forward" and ahead of his feet at this point (or to "pull his feet back behind his body"--same thing). This image should add clarity to the explanation above as to why we must let our feet get "ahead of us" in turn transitions, and why it is not necessarily a "backseat" error.)
You may need to think about these movements and play with them a good bit to develop a grasp of the critical timing and directionality that makes them work. The simple fact, though, remains that expert skiing and racing do often require extension
out of the turn (even though there may be active flexion through the transition). Failure to understand this, or to give ourselves permission ever to extend out of the pressure phase of the turn, can literally suck the energy out of the turn. Sometimes you want that. Sometimes--as when you seek more lateral acceleration across the hill--you don't!
Do not rule out "extension"!