speed control primarily comes from keeping the skis out of the fall line. That not only constrains gravity from accelerating you, but in some cases by turning the skis away from gravity, gravity actually brakes the skier.
Secondly you can slow yourself regardless of your direction of motion relative to gravity by running into a wall of some kind. The wall will push back and you will slow to a stop very suddenly.
Well ok, barring the use of a wall to slow you, you can create a virtual wall with heavily pressured edges. Is that not what a hockey stop is? But what about a hockey stop slows you? Some might say skidding friction, but skidding without pressure has miniscule slowing effect. More pressure, creates more friction and more slowing effect. More of a virtual wall to push back on the skier. Its no different then jumping off a roof and landing on the ground. The ground pushes back and you stop. Its the push pack that slows you.
That brings us to the final question which is how to apply the virtual wall effect, without doing an actual hockey stop? Well how about if the skis are at 80 degrees from the direction of travel instead of 90 degrees as in a hockey stop? You will end up hockey stopping more gradually, with a drift off course at the same time. So what is happening is that some of the momentum is being converted into redirection of the skier in a new direction, the rest is being pushed back by the 80 degrees of virtual wall. How about 70 degrees, 50 degrees, 10 degrees?
Yes a bit of steering angle or actually skid angle, creates a slowing effect because there is a virtual wall pushing back and the momentum is not being redirected in a new direction "perfectly". Some of it is of course, that's why you'd be making a brushed turn, but not all of it is, the virtual wall is pushing back and slowing you. If you have perfect arcing, then the momentum is being redirected rather close to perfectly, and much much less braking occurs. The bent ski is able to efficiently covert this motion into the new direction established by that steering angle. However if the edge angle is restrained to avoid arcing, and/or steering angle is increased to include some skidding or brushing...now the energy is not being redirected perfectly and some of the momentum will continue in a straight line. More edging can create more carving, and more redirection, less braking. Less edge angle can allow brushing, but if you flatten the skis too much, then the skis just drift and there is not much speed control either. That becomes more like hockey slips.
There is a sweet spot of edging where edge angle is creating redirection and brushing is allowing skid angle, but there is just a small bit of brushing being allowed. Just a small amount. Too much brushing means drifting with much less speed control. Not enough brushing means arcing and less speed control. The sweet spot of speed control is just the smallest little amount of brushing which basically embraces as much edge angle as possible without actually getting into arcing. Larger steering angle also contributes to this, but with large edge angles, skis will tend to automatically reduce steering angle rather quickly as they redirect into a new direction, so in practical terms, only a small skid angle happens in the sweet spot zone when large edge angles and pressure are needed for both the turn and to brake you.
This small amount of brushing with the largest edge angle possible, and some skid angle, creates the pushback pressure needed to slow the skier with braking. Do this through the entire turn shape, top to bottom, and you will have speed control in the steeps. Do it while staying out of the fall line and you will really have smooth control.
Another side benefit of the above is that it creates "steering", which basically tightens up the turn radius a bit, which helps keep you out of the fall line.
Edited by borntoski683 - 1/23/14 at 9:29pm