Originally Posted by yogaman
Originally Posted by Bob Barnes
Good post, Yogaman, but I have to challenge it (it's what I do, right?). Intent dictates technique. The only way we can get fully specific about what movements (technique) are ideal is to get equally specific about the intent--the purpose--of the turn. So I won't agree that we make turns "to control speed and direction." At the very least, we make turns to control speed OR direction--and these two different intents require very, very different movements. I've written a great deal about this idea, actually--search for "perfect turn," and for skiing the "slow line fast." Saying that turns are for speed control and direction control is like saying that the brake, the steering wheel, the gas pedal, and the windshield wiper switch in your car all serve the same purpose. Different techniques for different intents. Choose one!
I can't say I agree with your analogy or even your premise. Intent dictates technique only if the technique is successful in achieving the desired outcome. Let's say I'm on an icy race course and I need to make the next gate but my technique is deficient and I miss the next gate. My intent was to make the next gate but my technique was not sufficient to achieve the intended outcome. Every turn is a balance between how much speed we control and how much direction we control. A turn that controls speed the best is probably a turn that controls direction the least and visa versa. However, Picking a "slow line and going fast" (my favorite kind of skiing) by accurately controlling my direction I also control my speed. The rounder the line, the slower I go. YM
Looks like I miscommunicated with you, Yogaman--sorry about that. By "Intent Dictates Technique," I do not mean to suggest that intent has anything to do with making you more or less skillful. And intent alone does not guarantee that you'll be successful at achieving that intent.Your intent dictates the type of movements you'll make, but not the quality or the skillfulness with which you apply those movements. Those take practice! Unfortunately, because I maintain that most recreational skiers are practicing something entirely different from what experts do, the best that can be said about them is that they may become very good at bad skiing. If you want even to begin to ski like an expert, you must first learn to think like an expert. You won't do it as well as someone who is more skilled than you, but if you aren't at least trying to do the same thing, you're practicing something else--and it's that "something else" that you'll improve at.
There are two components to the concept of "goodness" in skiing. First is the fundamental type of movements and movement blends a skier makes, or tries to make. The second is the degree of skill, accuracy, consistency, and athleticism with which the movements are made. You could place these on a simple 4-quadrant grid, as follows:
The "Goodness Grid"—Forget about "beginner-intermediate-advanced-expert"! A little tongue-in-cheek, perhaps (I don't mean to imply that lacking skill makes you "bad," but it's not an uncommon way to describe it). Intent dictates Movement Type, while Practice determines Skill Level.
On the "Goodness Grid," intent determines the type of movements you make (intent dictates technique), while practice (and aptitude--athleticism, fitness, talent, will, etc.) moves you up in skill level. The red side is the typical, usually self-taught, recreational skier, using skis primarily as brakes to control speed. The green side is anyone--at any skill level--who "thinks like an expert," habitually gliding, turning to control direction (not speed), and using tactics (line) for speed control, skiing "the slow line fast."
It's fairly safe to say that most skiers who are on the red side don't realize it. For most people, making the transition to the green side involves a paradigm shift--a fundamentally different way of thinking about skiing and turns. Gaining skill moves you only straight up on the grid--you get better at whatever you practice. You will not become an expert until you practice what experts do--no matter how much you practice. No one says that "bad skiing" can't still be fun. But I've never met anyone who, after making the paradigm shift, wanted to go back!
I don't mean to suggest that being unskilled makes you "bad." It's a little tongue-in-cheek, really, but if anyone has better terms to put in the grid, shout 'em out. I also don't mean to suggest that braking is necessarily bad. Braking skill is as critical in skiing as in driving a car. Braking is a good move (when you need it)--but it is a bad habit. The truly "good skier," of course, can emulate movements anywhere on the grid, at will. He or she habitually glides and turns to control direction, but brakes skillfully when needed or desired.
Regarding the speed control vs. direction control thing, again, it has been discussed a very great deal here for fifteen years or so (and prior to EpicSki, it was a theme I raised at the old CompuServe Skiing Forums, in which several current EpicSki members participated. So there is probably plenty written on the topic already. I'll just reiterate that from my experience, it is one of the biggest keys to great skiing, as well as perhaps the most common "missing link" for most recreational skiers. Failure to embrace what I call the GO! Factor--failure to grasp the "expert's way of thinking," the "expert's intent"--is the primary cause of the proverbial "intermediate plateau," or "intermediate rut." You can only get just so good at bad skiing before you reach its limits!
If anyone is looking for some reading, here's a book or two's worth of classic threads from the archives, dealing with the essence of "good skiing"--referencing the "perfect turn," "thinking like an expert," "skiing the slow line fast," "positive and negative movements," offensive and defensive speed control, paradigm shifts, the GO! Factor, and other related ideas:
Summoning the Goddess of Perfect Turns.... (the article), and How do you make a perfect turn? (the thread the article came from)
and Those Turns...Illustrated (article), Those Turns...Illustrated (whole thread)
Ski the Slow Line Fast--a brief article distilled from a much longer thread.
Slow Line Fast? One of the more lively discussions of the principle, from 2005. Discussion really got focused on page 2 of the thread.
Picking the line . . . so we can ski the slow line fast--from 2002
To Ski Or Not To Ski The Slow Line Fast--another from 2002, featuring posts from many of EpicSki's most prolific and thought-provoking members.
I'm new to this msg board..where is the original thread for skiing a slow line fast? This is the earliest EpicSki thread I can find on the topic, but it's obviously (from the title) not the first. It links to several others preceding it, but the links--from when EpicSki was a vBulletin forum--are long ago broken. There was a thread entitled, "Slow Line FAST--Think Like an Expert!" that I cannot find--unfortunately, we lost a bunch of great discussions with various platform changes in EpicSki's history.
Where does a skier slow down in moguls? Link is to my post #15 in this thread, from 2011. The thread drifted and covered a variety of bump technique and equipment topics, but the first page, at least, dealt largely with the title topic.
Only Two Ways To Slow Down! An offshoot thread from the moguls discussion above.
Yay! Ski the slow line fast! I got it now! A success story....
Do you? (ski the slow line fast/turn to control speed?) 2008--a thread I did not participate in--interesting to see others' takes on the idea.
Footwork of Good Skiing Link to my post #31 about the "slow line fast," in a great technique discussion from 2001.
Making a Turn from 2004--a long discussion about turning fundamentals and the concept of "positive and negative movements," including a description of what I call "infinite steps" beginning with post #34.
How would you define an intermediate or advanced skier? Good discussion from 2013, in which the idea of "thinking like an expert" played a big part.
Ski The Slow Line Fast! More success with making the paradigm shift of skiing the slow line fast, from 2001
Fluidity of Movement From 2002, a discussion largely about the transition, and highly relevant to markojp's question in post #83 of this current thread ("But could we say 'flow' is all about the transition?").
Old School Approach to Great Skiing A long read from 2011, illuminating various understandings (and misunderstandings) of fundamental principles--at the core of understanding "good skiing" at various skill levels, based on "intent dictates technique."
A Tale of Three Turns Nineteen pages of sometimes heated and contentious discussion, centered around the transition. If you're willing to wade through it, or even part of it, there's some great technical food for thought!
That should keep you occupied, at least until the snow flies!