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Separation, semantics and confusion...

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

Lately it seems that the new buzzword for describing skiing actions is "separation."I don't have a current PSIA glossary to see if they describe the term. CSIA, in their new manual, define it as "The disassociation of upper and lower body while skiing." Bob Barnes in his beyond awesome glossary does not cover the term. Nor do many other glossaries I have viewed. I have seen it used to describe the lower body turning more than the upper body about a vertical axis. I have also recently seem it as describing the break at the hips in a turn when the upper body leans to the outside of the turn while the lower body leans to the inside of the turn. Maybe we could help clear up all of the confusion by coming to some sort of a consensus. In my view, the two actions described above as "separation" should have two different names.

post #2 of 11
You described separation and angulation
post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
post #4 of 11

Terms are fluid and many.  The OP is referring to two families of terms.  Terms in a family don't all mean the exact same thing, but are closely related.

There is no possibility of consensus.  Too many people who don't communicate with each other are involved.


A.  counter, skiing into counter, separation, upper body/lower body separation, quiet upper body, legs turning more than the upper body, femur rotation, leg steering, steering, independent leg steering (ILS), thigh steering, braquage, facing the apex of the next turn, facing downhill, facing the outside of the turn


B.  angulation, hip angulation, directing pressure/balance/weight to the outside ski (or downhill ski), level shoulders, shoulders level to the hill, maintaining outside ski dominance

Edited by LiquidFeet - 9/20/14 at 6:19am
post #5 of 11
Separation is an abbreviated term. In general it describes the separate and distinct roles each part of the body plays during a ski turn. Although it needs to be understood that moving one part of the body effects the rest of the body, so in reality they alway work together.

A more active lower half and a stable and quiet upper half is the most common definition in use but even that can be misleading. Not letting your torso get tossed around takes effort from your core muscles that act on a semi-conscious level. Contrast that with the largely conscious and deliberate limb movements and the separate roles seem disconnected.
post #6 of 11

Along the lines of what JASP is saying I never teach 'separation'. Its one of the words that I have chosen to eliminate from my ski teaching. Rather I teach co-ordination of the movements of the various body parts to produce the outcome I desire. Limbs, core, pelvis, shoulders, spine, etc. don't act separately they act in concert.



post #7 of 11

Separation and early edge angles (aka flash your bases) was all the rage in racing in the early 2000s. If you ask me still very relevant for high level skiing. Can't drag ur hips without it, ice to pow, it aint much matter, separate your upper and lower body for best results :)

post #8 of 11

After over a week on the forum, I find it fascinating that such an important ski teaching subject is getting so little input. I think JASP did a pretty good job above of describing the "what". In addition we need to understand and teach based on the "why".  The upper half contains the bulk of our mass and as such acts as a " ballast" of sorts for the force generated by the interaction of the ski and snow and directed up through the lower half. This force can be simple gravity or centripetal force generated as a ski carves.  In addition, our arms can add close to 40 pounds to our torso and with their length, provide a big influence on the rest of the upper body mass. 


As skiers, The goal is to quietly and pro actively position and manage our upper half (core mass), so that intended direction of travel can be achieved.  


If we are doing short radius turns, the appearance of separation is more rotary in nature because the intended direction of travel is more or less down the fall line and inline with gravity.  So we want to keep the upper body quiet and facing that direction while the lower half is executing intense rotary and angular movements. 


If we are are executing medium to long radius turns then the appearance of separation is more angular because we are carving in which case our upper body needs to be positioned to balance so as to perpetuate the centripetal force that forms the arcing path.  Any appearance of rotary separation in carved turns is caused by the incline of the surface in combination with the front/back positioning of the skis. 

post #9 of 11

I believe one organization describes the actions as counter balancing and counter acting.  These movements are different but interrelated.  The outcome of these movements allow for powerful edging,  balancing on the outside ski and who knows what else.  YM 

post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 

Michael Rogan and Sean Warman weigh in on separation.
post #11 of 11
I've always felt, not just in skiing but most walks of life, people get confused by terms and what the real intent of the speakers message is. Someone up the ranks makes a comment about counter, and by time it trickles down, people are running around saying we need more counter. Then the higher echelons state that they shouldn't be trying to counter and this trickles down to counter is bad. Even though it happens, we won't talk about it except on the lift with your must trusted colleagues.

I think separation and counter happen as a result of turning the legs, keeping the skis pressured and watching where we're going, while remaining balanced.

I don't think skiers should set out to get "countered" or "separated". It should just happen. You should set out to be balanced and in control while using the ski efficiently.

Counter will happen and how much depends out you body, skill level, speed and the terrain. Same with separation.


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