or Connect
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Ski Training and Pro Forums › Ski Instruction & Coaching › Body Position at Turn Initiation
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Body Position at Turn Initiation

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

The thing I struggle the most with in my skiing is my upper-body at turn initiation (e.g., entry into the fall line).

 

My process for initiating a turn are:

 

1) Begin retracting outside (new inside) leg, begin pressuring inside (new outside) leg

2) Simultaneously with 1), gradually get my skis flat

3) Focus on getting "stacked" on my skis

4) Wait to enter fall-line and once I feel the centrifugal forces building, then I get onto my new edges (query: should I get on my new edges before the fall line?)

5) As I enter the fall-line and near the apex, increase pressure on my outside skis

 

Other than my question regarding timing of 4) above, I think generally this is the way modern ski technique teaches you on how to make a turn.

 

The more confusing thing for me is, what I should do with my upper-body. I do the whole "up/down" process (less if I'm truly carving at speed, more if I'm doing more pivot turns at slower speeds) to some extent in all of my turns.

 

When I do my "up" motion at step 1) above, I move "up" in the direction my skis are pointing. In other words, I try to keep my shoulders aligned with the tip of my skis. Then, in steps 3-5 above, I focus on rotating my shoulders and hips to keep them aligned with the changing direction of my skis. Then, once I am at the apex of the turn at the end of step 5), I do a bit of hip angulation so that I am properly countered.

 

This all makes sense to me from a biomechanical perspective. Skiing stacked, tipping movements followed by angulation (as opposed to "inclining" into a turn).

 

The following video however, is throwing everything I know about body position out the window:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W2x3BFhNUGg

 

At 0:20, the guy states, "my skis are still in the last turn, but my body is already moving down the hill in preparation for the next turn."

 

I interpret this to mean, when he is moving "up," he is actually doing it at an angle to the direction of the skis, and in a way, inclining into the turn. My questions are:

 

1) If this is true, doesn't this mean he is no longer "stacked" and therefore unable to pressure the outside leg sufficiently?

2) Won't this result in your upperbody being too much "into the hill"?

3) Shouldn't you be pressuring the new outside ski prior to tipping your skis onto their new edges? If your COM is already down the hill, I imagine that will put you onto your new edges without adequate pressure.

 

I'm confused, because he looks very well stacked over his skis and very well centered - but this emphasis of "throwing your upper-body down the hill" seems counterintuitive when trying to ski stacked.

post #2 of 10

White Pass turns should be in your future. :)

post #3 of 10
Having a strong up/down motion at turn transition for a nonrotary turn is going to hurt your skiing. Try to keep flexed and work on tipping. You should be tipping and pressuring the skis above the fall line, not at it. If you use extention during the tranisition you probably won't be able to do anything but skid above the fall line.

That skier in the video says he extends into the next turn but never does on that slow motion tur ! That's why its confusing. He's remaining in a flexed position and tipping.
Later he does extend, which he can get away with but it isn't good. That looks like a slalom ski he's using, but if he had something like a GS ski that extension would keep him from getting the angles needed to make those turns. He also doesn't finish his turns when he extends.

Try some one legged skiing dris, you'll find that if you stand up straight and try to decrease the radius of a carved turn it won't work, but if you flex you can tip more and decrease the radius.
Edited by clink83 - 2/1/15 at 10:21pm
post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by clink83 View Post

Having a strong up/down motion at turn transition for a nonrotary turn is going to hurt your skiing. Try to keep flexed and work on tipping. You should be tipping and pressuring the skis above the fall line, not at it. If you use extention during the tranisition you probably won't be able to do anything but skid above the fall line.

That skier in the video says he extends into the next turn but never does on that slow motion tur ! That's why its confusing. He's remaining in a flexed position and tipping.
Later he does extend, which he can get away with but it isn't good. That looks like a slalom ski he's using, but if he had something like a GS ski that extension would keep him from getting the angles needed to make those turns. He also doesn't finish his turns when he extends.

 

Thanks for this. I do try to minimize strong up/down and try more to focus on cross-under movements when I'm carving, although sometimes I feel it's not safe given the speeds that generates, so oftentimes I go for the cross-over/strong up-down just to keep my form steady and speed down.

 

I was out with my instructor on Saturday and I had brought up this video and this "extending into the next turn thing." I even tried it on a turn and he immediately told me to stop and said exactly what you just said: "you  will never be able to pressure your outside ski on a GS ski by extending so much at turn entry."

 

Seems to reinforce my belief that I should stay stacked the entire time throughout my turn.

 

Bob Barnes in a thread a long time ago once said that your skis are always travelling faster than your upper-body, and therefore your upper-body takes a "shortcut" at turn initiation down the hill. I take this to mean, the "shortcut" just happens naturally if you're stacked and centered and properly rotating, as opposed to intentionally moving your upper-body "up and over down the hill."

post #5 of 10

Lets look at your first sentence, "at turn initiation (e.g., entry into the fall line)", this could be part of your confusion.

Turn initiation is not your entry into the fall line, turn initiation occurs at the point where you go from old outside foot to new inside foot, typically when your crossing the fall line. See Bob Barnes X-move, he has a little cartoon showing COM crossing the ski track, when COM and ski track intersect, thats turn initiation. (https://vimeo.com/110530512)

 

Yes, at this point your skis should be flat.

 

To get stacked, push your hips forward with the old inside foot (new outside foot), this move also starts at turn initiation. No up move at all.

 

At this point you should be moving to your new inside edge, as much before the fall line as possible, called Hi-C.

 

Pressure on the new outside foot will start when you push your hips forward and increase as you go to apex.

 

This video has a good explanation (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OK2jbDeWJ-U#t=324); crappy audio. Everything described in Phil McNicol's video is also in Ron Kipp's book Alpine Skiing.

 

This is what Ron Kipp calls the five All's; Ball, Fall, Tall, Wall, Call.

Ball is ball of the foot, pressure the ski, Fall is move (no up) forward, Tall is long outside leg, Wall is knees, hips, shoulders have same counter as feet. Call is move to make pole touch.

All of these actions occur at turn initiation, the point where COM and ski track intersect. All of these moves can be done whether making linked turns or have some traverse and regardless of speed and all of these moves occur well above the fall line. Basically this is what defines transition or turn initiation.

post #6 of 10
Quote:
iHeart:" The more confusing thing for me is, what I should do with my upper-body. I do the whole "up/down" process"

I think this confuses a lot of people.  As you pointed out points 1-4 everything your are attempting to do is maintain and manage pressure as appropriate. Your thinking is right on. Now about that up/down thing. What you have to ask yourself: 1) Are you trying to maintain pressure or allow pressure and forces to build as your turns progress?. 2)  Are the movements you are making contributing to goals in question 1. 

 

If one of the concepts of good skiing is to naturally allow pressure to build on the outside ski thru the arc of the turn, then will an up motion best serve your goals, or will RETRACTION be better followed by extension as the turn progresses? Put that thought on hold for a moment.  Consider this: Depending on the slope, the slope WILL fall away from you at some rate. Right?  Some slopes will literally fall out from under you. So, will an "up motion" help maintain your concept of how you see pressure developing throughout the turn, of will retraction work better as you release and reengage?  Let's stipulate that for lazy la-dee-da turns up motion is probably acceptable. But for aggressive hard carving retraction is probably better suited to this type of turn. 

 

One more thing to consider... As your speed increases, the ski, loaded like a spring, has to release it's energy and you have to manage that energy as it uncoils coming out of a turn. Are you going to do it with an up motion? 

 

But then again, if you're in deep snow, the rules of up and down change a bit depending on other factors. Again, you have to consider the conditions what your needs are in that immediate moment. 

post #7 of 10
Simplify: As you finish a turn, let the skis turn more than the torso so the torso is aimed toward where you are going next. Then move yourself toward where you are going next. I'm talking about the immediate "next", not down the fun line unless you're making short fall line turns. The body's shorter path is across the skis. The skis' longer path is out and around.
post #8 of 10

Each of us has his/her own favored learning mode so the approaches to this are as varied as there are individuals, however, for myself at least, I believe you are thinking of too many things while you are trying to improve your skiing. For example: (your words quoted here)

 

1) Begin retracting outside (new inside) leg, begin pressuring inside (new outside) leg

2) Simultaneously with 1), gradually get my skis flat

3) Focus on getting "stacked" on my skis

4) Wait to enter fall-line and once I feel the centrifugal forces building, then I get onto my new edges (query: should I get on my new edges before the fall line?)

5) As I enter the fall-line and near the apex, increase pressure on my outside skis"

 

What you want to do is really quite simple (the devil being in the details). 

 

1) You want to release edges, change edges and engage the new edges.

2) How do you do that? (change edge angles)?

3 You change the angle your legs make with the snow.

4) How do you do this?

5) You move your body laterally.

6) How do you do this?

7) My preference here would be to ask you to figure that out as I'm sure you can do quite well but essentially you want to move your body across the skis and in the direction of the new turn in order to release and flatten your edges and continue to move as needed in order to engage the  new edges. The more you move the more your legs will be angled with respect to the snow and hence the greater edge angle you will get.

 

Up and down movements are not needed. What you need is lateral (sideways) movement.

Don't wait until you reach the fall line to get on your new edges.

Begin the movement to release edges and flatten skis at the end of the turn. (A lateral movement across the skis and down the hill)

Don't wait around for something to happen.

Continue the movement to engage your new edges.

Stretch your new outside leg in order to increase the new edge angles.

This will engage your new edges. The movement may be momentarily a lateral movement down the hill.

Your skis will be on their new edges and carving the new turn.

 

The timing of all this is what you need to experiment with. Be forewarned that fore and aft weight distribution and balance are key elements in this. If your skis are not carving when you reach the fall line your weight may be back a bit. Try moving your weight forward on the skis by moving your feet backwards when you move to initiate the turn..

 

My advice is not to try retracting your leg. Taken literally, all this does is move your weight to the other leg while one foot is raised in the air.

What you want is not to move your body in the direction of the new outside leg (as this exercise causes to occur-I'm afraid this is what is occurring when you say you are getting "stacked") but instead to move your body over the leg you are trying to retract. Moving your body in this way may actually move more weight onto this new inside leg (that you may be trying to retract) while you are waiting for pressure to build on the new outside ski. Let the pressure build.

 

You can practice lateral movement quite comfortably in a safe environment in order to develop a feel for it. Stand on a tread of your stairs facing down hill with a hand gripping each handrail and practice moving side to side.

Notice that this involves simply flexing one leg while extending the other (no retraction involved here).

You can work on this simple movement on a gentle slope in order to develop "railroad track" turns,

Notice how this movement actually causes a movement of weight to the inside of the new turn. Its the development of pressure and "centrifugal" force that causes weight to transfer to the new outside ski.

Learn to become patient with the development of this force. This involves experimentation and practice in order to gain the confidence this will happen.

 

 

In summary, please throw out, for the purposes of this exercise, the notions of "retracting", "getting stacked" and pressuring the new outside ski before changing edges. I think these are what is getting in the way of your attempts to progress.

 

I apologize if, as I suspect, some of this advice flies beneath you. I realize you are likely already a skier with advanced skills but you might be well advised to take another look at some of the very basic movements that underlie your skiing.

 

post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by oisin View Post
 

Up and down movements are not needed. What you need is lateral (sideways) movement.

 

I apologize if, as I suspect, some of this advice flies beneath you. I realize you are likely already a skier with advanced skills but you might be well advised to take another look at some of the very basic movements that underlie your skiing.

 

 

Thanks for this, and no, no such advice is beneath me :) I've been skiing for most of my life but terminology always confuses me and I do have problems with my timing (as I have this nasty habit of trying to apply the same principles to every single type of turn that I do, whether short, long or steep/blue). Every bit helps!

 

I did have a follow-up question on your lateral sideways movement. In a high speed carving environment, wouldn't lateral movement of the upper-body result in unnecessary "crossing over" as opposed to a more "natural" cross-under of legs together with a silent upper-body? I'm generally vary cautious about throwing my upper-body around and tend to let my upper-body follow my legs and hips.

post #10 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by iheartnyc View Post
 

 

Thanks for this, and no, no such advice is beneath me :) I've been skiing for most of my life but terminology always confuses me and I do have problems with my timing (as I have this nasty habit of trying to apply the same principles to every single type of turn that I do, whether short, long or steep/blue). Every bit helps!

 

I did have a follow-up question on your lateral sideways movement. In a high speed carving environment, wouldn't lateral movement of the upper-body result in unnecessary "crossing over" as opposed to a more "natural" cross-under of legs together with a silent upper-body? I'm generally vary cautious about throwing my upper-body around and tend to let my upper-body follow my legs and hips.

Not throwing your upper body around unnecessarily seems to me part of what you're after. I'm speaking of a simple lateral movement of your body not tipping or inclining of the body. Obviously there's quite a bit more going on that needs to be blended in. Leg rotation for example is something which occurs through the turn and aids balancing by enabling an upper and lower body separation. That's perhaps too complex to be  getting into here. I assume (?) its already part of your turn so perhaps its best not to get into unnecessarily complicated detail when you're trying to learn or perfect your movements.

 

Crossing over is the appropriate movement for a long radius turn. Its the movement that enables edge release, flattening and edging.  Crossing under where your skis actually move across beneath your body instead of the body moving across the skis is something normally associated with a very quickly timed turn, a short turn. Both see essentially the same things happening, change of leg angle, edge release, flattening of the ski and edging. In either case it is changing leg angles that actually make this happen.   In such a (short) turn because of the very short radius of the turn your body moves comparatively little to either side of a hypothetical fall line drawn from center of turn to center of turn, hence the lateral movement of the body is relatively restricted and it is the skis which are moving laterally under you. In a longer radius turn the turn occurs at a slower rate relatively speaking and your body moves in a much wider arc. 

 

This can get unnecessarily complicated and there are people who can better speak to this complexity than I. My point was to keep it simple to enable your learning, build upon what you have and not have you trying to think of a great many things while you are doing that. Better to introduce technical information when and if the need arises than try to assemble a theoretical concept of the entire thing and the go out and try to do it. That's my feeling anyway but, as I've said, every individual will find his/her best approach to learning.

 

I was reacting to some of the things which you said about what you are trying to do which to my mind complicate the learning process and perhaps produce faulty movements. You spoke of retracting what is to be your new inside leg at turn initiation for example. Try something for me. Stand upright balanced equally upon both legs. Now retract one leg. What is going to happen is that your weight is going to transfer to the other leg or to the ground. Either you are going to topple, which is to say incline, to the side of the retracted leg or, if you are like most humans with a healthy instinct for self preservation you are going to move your body over the remaining leg in order to retain your balance. You don't really want either of these things to occur which is why it isn't a useful thing to be trying to do at turn initiation. You don't want to incline your body into the turn. This will put your body in a poor position to balance against the lateral forces that the inclination of your legs will produce. You don't want to befalling into the turn either so you want the support of the new inside leg to control your lateral movement. You do want to move your body laterally into the turn but you want to do it in such a way that you can adjust your lateral balance (angulate). You don't want to move your body over your new outside leg at the beginning of the turn either  because this will inhibit the release of that ski's edge and delay the changing of edges. You spoke of pressuring that (new outside) ski before edge release and "stacking" before changing your edges. To me these things suggest that you are effectively moving up onto your soon to be new outside ski and balancing upon it before starting the turn when what you really want to be doing is moving to the (new) inside to release, flatten, and engage your new edges. Forget for a moment about everything thing else that occurs at this point and just envision what you want your skis to do. You want the skis to tilt down the hill to release the edges, continue to tilt in order to flatten the ski and continue to tilt in order to enable edging in the new turn. Now in your mind attach your legs to the skis and visualize the tipping of the legs that must occur in order to make this happen. Now imagine what movements of your body must occur to cause this tipping. You don't want your body to move to the outside of the new turn.That is an unnecessary delay, just move your body laterally down the hill to make the new turn and try to keep your body relatively upright for balance. Your legs tip from the waist down. You'll find that your body can't bend sideways very much at the waist so your legs rotate in the hip sockets and you actually bend forward at the waist as the turn develops to create those neat angles that allow you to adjust the position of your upper body while allowing your legs to create some great angles with respect to the snow. This is what they mean by upper and lower body separation and this is how you balance laterally.

 

Go back to the exercise I asked you to do on your staircase and see how easy and natural it is to move your body laterally in this way (by flexing and extending your legs).There should be no throwing around of the upper body. The movement is produced with your legs only while your upper body remains quiet. Take yourself back on skis to some easier terrain than you would ordinarily ski if you like and work on this while gradually increasing the speed and difficulty of terrain. Its better I think when you're trying to make some change to your fundamental pattern of movements to take yourself back into a comfort zone.

 

I hope this helps. I think I've broken my cardinal rule and gotten into a technical exposition that may be counter productive. If this is the case, just ignore it all and concentrate upon the world of exploring lateral movements.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Ski Instruction & Coaching
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Ski Training and Pro Forums › Ski Instruction & Coaching › Body Position at Turn Initiation