Originally Posted by Metaphor_
I picked up LeMaster's Ultimate Skiing early this year and have absolutely devoured it--he takes a different approach from the ski bodies I've worked with, and it's refreshing. LeMaster identifies different tactics to transition between turns on pg. 151-152; I've used his headings and tried to describe the tactic in my own words:
Making the feet slow down or turn more sharply
Basically tipping more through the end of the turn, which sends your CoM down the hill and over your new edges. For example, pre-turning. (crossover)
I love this approach to initiations. In my head I think of it as "overturning" the skis at the end of the turn.
#1 - On steepish, maybe black and double-black, hard snow groomers, turning the skis uphill may require rotating the hips to face the trees (because of ROM issues) between turns. PSIA examiners don't like to see that hip rotation; I got blasted for doing it during a LIII prep clinic. On blue-blacks maybe you can avoid the hip rotation.
#2 - If you allow your feet to move waay out toward the trees, significantly more than your body, as you turn them uphill, your body is going to topple down the hill way inside and you may get a nice pivot as the skis turn fast then come back around to catch up. That pivot is another thing PSIA examiners may not want to see, so save letting the feet go waaay out for non-exam skiing. There's nothing wrong with this turn if that pivot works for you, and it will in soft dense snow - I speak from experience.
#3 - If you keep your feet up under you as you "overturn" them instead of allowing them to move out and toward the trees, the pivot will be minimized or even absent depending on your definition of "pivot." This may be more like what the examiners are looking for, so more of a "go-to" for most instructor types on blue terrain when doing basic parallel steered turns.
#4 - Overturning the skis also fuels slow-dog-noodles if you combine it with the out-toward-the-trees movement of the feet ... see Wayne Wong and Glen Plake videos. This is a definite DO NOT DO for an exam, but fun in bumps anyway.
OR: stemming the downhill ski to slow the lower body down
Intermediates on the plateau do this. Avoid at all costs.
Removing support of the downhill ski
Allowing the downhill leg to "soften" so that your mass transfers to the new outside ski while engaging it on edge
I'm going to interpret this to refer to two different types of initiations, because the description fits both.
#5 - Flex the old outside leg first to release the turn, allowing the body to drop in, then immediately extend the old inside leg to keep it contacting the snow. The body stays low during the transition, and may feel a light "float" if the softening/relaxing/flexing leg does its thing fast. There will be no "float" if that leg is flexed more slowly. This is my preferred way to release and initiate turns on all kinds of terrain and conditions, but PSIA wants to see a more dramatic extension of the new outside ski in the LIII skiing exam according to my experience in my recent LIII prep course and at my home mountain in training sessions.
#6 - Extend the old inside leg while on its LTE, and at the same time flex the old outside leg. Flexing the old outside ski at the right speed keeps your body from literally moving uphill (no up-unweighting). The extension of the old inside leg should be done at just the right speed, so that its ski does not lose pressure after its initial extension. This initiation is different from #5 above because your intent is to press down on the LTE of that ski to lift that side of the body. You will move up and over the skis through the transition, and there will be no float. The new outside ski will immediately roll onto its BTE and establish very early grip above the fall line. This solid grip feels very different from the lightness you'll feel when doing #5 above. This turn initiation is the go-to approach for shortish radius turns on blacks and double blacks for LIII exams, if I correctly understood my examiner in my recent clinic. I get told to initiate my turns this way consistently from the trainers at my home mountain. Using this initiation for basic parallel turns on blues is also something I hear all the time, and can be combined (or not) with overturning.
Absorbing the pressure from the skis through the transition and allowing the skis to tip onto the new wedges (crossunder)
I'm interpreting this to mean carved retraction turns, where the skier faces downhill, the turns are short ones down the fall line, you suck your legs up fast, the skis produce rebound and move quickly side-to-side under your body. You stay low through transition, and you feel as if your legs are bouncing leftie-rightie under you. As far as I know, this is not a LII skill that PSIA examiners are looking for; not sure about LIII but in my five day prep course for LIII skiing we did not do these.
Lateral support from the pole plant
Planting the pole down and forward your base of support/CoM will cause skis to pivot into the new turn - so long as the skis are flattening. Seems like a crossover technique.
I interpret this to mean short pivoted turns straight down the fall line on steeps with an edge-set and blocking pole plant. Maybe save these for when you aren't on blue groomers performing in an exam. Our examiner did have us do them once on day one during our LIII prep, then we never did them again but practiced the #6 above over and over.
I can see good situational uses for each of these transition tactics (e.g. flexing is great if you go over a roller where pressure will be maintained by the bump; pole plant turning is especially good in steeps; etc.). My confusion is that it seems like some of these tactics are not considered good "go-to" tactics by all. For example, in some freeskiing instructor training I've gotten feedback along the lines of "stop flexing through the transition", even though I enjoy that sensation. I get the concept that it's bad because you aren't able to burn off the lactic acid buildup through the flex, but it doesn't tire me out when the snow is soft (though I'd change tactics on firmer snow). (Curiously it also appears to be the go-to tactic for JF...)
So what's the intended "go-to" tactic (or baseline tactic) for advanced parallel skiing on a hardpack consistent pitch blue-black groomer? turning more sharply to cross over?