Originally Posted by Bob Barnes
None of this should be taken as refuting the need to be balanced on our skis, to keep out of "the backseat," or to move "forward" through the turn. But it raises some important (and from what I've seen, rarely asked) questions. Specifically, "which direction is 'forward,' anyway?" There are many directions that could all qualify as legitimate answers to what sounds like such a simple question, including "in the direction the skis point," "in the direction the skis are going," "in the direction the body faces," "in the direction the body is moving," "toward the apex of the next turn," and "down the hill." None of these "forwards" necessarily describe the same direction--and in some cases, they could be diametrically opposed.
I've long suggested that it would be much simpler, and generally more accurate and applicable, to define "forward" as "down the hill"--regardless of which direction we face, which direction we're moving, or which direction our skis point or travel. And to define "lateral" as "across the hill"--again regardless of body orientation or direction of travel. By these definitions, we do indeed need to move forward (down the hill from our feet) to start a turn, and we need to let our skis move laterally--to the outside of the turn--to get them on edge and to balance on them as they carve the turn. Note, though, that this "forward" and this "lateral" may well be 90 degrees--or even more (if we finish a turn gliding uphill)--divergent from forward and lateral relative to the direction the skis point.
And I've also suggested in other threads here and elsewhere that the transition is all about setting up for the upcoming pressure/shaping phase of the next turn. What happens in the transition--especially when we become fully unweighted or even airborne--does not matter during the transition. It matters later, when we've "landed" and re-established pressure (and consequently, the need for balance). Balance is often described in three dimensions--fore-aft, lateral, and "up-down"--but I like to describe what happens in the transition as Balancing in the Fourth Dimension--the dimension of time. Like an Olympic aerialist, it really doesn't matter what we do when we're not standing on and supported by our feet--aerialists can do whatever they want in the air, as long they end up in balance when they land. Turn transitions represent an incredible opportunity to "decouple" our feet (base of support) from our center of mass and enjoy the luxury of moving now for an effect (balance and edge angle) later in the turn. Most people squander the opportunity!