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Looking for Suggestions - edging issues

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

I realize that a video would be better, but all I have are these photos taken from this past weekend. 


I've only been working on my carving this season, as I started racing last year.  Technique wise, I could use some help.  How do I get up on my edges "better'?  I see other racers where there bodies are lower, and skis are almost 90 degrees to the snow.  Not that I'm looking for that, but would definitely like to be "up on edge" better - Patrick




post #2 of 7

There are 4 aspects to consider:

Getting higher edge angles

Getting more speed

Using inclination and angulation.

Getting on edge earlier in the turn


Here's an exercise you can do at home:

Stand facing a wall about an arms length away from the wall plus 4" more with your feet about shoulder width apart. Turn your feet so that they are at a 30 degree angle to the wall, but keep your hips and shoulders facing the wall. Now lean into the wall so that you can place your front hand flat against the wall.  Next try tipping your feet on edge. Your knees have to move. If you also move your hips, you can get higher edge angles. Don't worry if your feet get tipped toe heavy, just try to get as high an angle as you can. These are the two movements you need to make to create higher edge angles.


For the first 0-10 degrees of tilt there's not much difference on the force of your hand against the wall. Notice how much extra force gets created on your hand as you create higher edge angles. Now move back so that  you are arms length plus two feet. You should be able to create higher edge angles and the force on the wall should be much greater. Now move your feet back to flat. Play with rolling to different edge angles. There is a limited range of edge angles you can adjust to for a set speed. If your hips are inside of the turn and you have too little or too much, you will fall to the inside. The more speed you have, the higher edge angles you can achieve. The level of force you feel against the wall corresponds to the level of speed you will need to maintain those edge angles.


Try tipping your feet onto edge just free standing without any support from the wall. You can arc your body into a "C" shape and get some edge, but not much. When you use the wall for support, the farther you are away from the wall, the more you have to incline (lean) to reach your hand to the wall. From that position, the more you drop your hips to get higher edge angles, the more you are angulating. You need to incline and angulate more to get higher edge angles and stay in balance. Those two movements work together.


Getting higher edge angles in a race course won't get you faster times if you are skidding. You have to make round turns to get the benefit of higher edge angles. You'll probably make your turns a lot rounder if you can find a way to get onto your new edges a lot earlier in your turns. The pics you've posted can't tell us what changes you specifically need to make to get higher edge angles earlier in the turn. Your magic move to get higher edge angles may be turning the feet less and tipping your boots/knees more, it may be a sensation of pushing the feet out away from you at turn apex and pulling them back underneath you at transition, it may be thinking "long leg/short leg" or it could be one of the hundreds of other "turn thoughts"/philosophies that are out there.


You could gather all of the possible edging advice via the Internet and go through them one by one to see what works. You could refer to some excellent books and videos. You could get some video of yourself and then we could take better guesses. Or you could take a lesson and get much more immediate results. As an instructor, my opinion is slightly biased, but I hope this helps a little bit.

post #3 of 7

Rusty, I have read enough of your good advice to be surprised that, after looking at those photos, you did not include that he should be putting much more weight on the outside ski.

post #4 of 7

Sometimes I am full of surprises. Just because I did not mention it does not mean dad does not need to do that. He asked how to get higher edge angles. Putting more weight on the outside ski won''t necessarily create higher edge angles (e.g. I can stand on one flat ski). I purposely tried to avoid giving specific advice because of a lack of information. It could be that Dad's troubles are caused by poor alignment. Nonetheless, it is my hope that the advice provided above would lead to increased balance against the outside ski as a result of the focus on getting higher edge angles. There are many different paths to nirvana.

post #5 of 7

Patrick, look at this racer (maybe someone can help with the name)


 Note how close the legs are together.  The inside foot is not allowed to move forward.  The skis point at the photographer, but the hips & shoulders are turned towards the outside of the turn (counter).  The shoulders are tilted about equal to the slope of the hill.  The waist is bent allowing better balance over the outside ski (angulation).  More weight is on the outside ski, and the inside ski is tipped at more of an angle (ankle action, not knee or hip action).  The hands and arms are out in a natural balancing position.


Where do you start?  Always with the feet.  Good skiers ski with their feet.  The upper body amplifies what the feet do.

*Legs walking-width apart.  No wider.

*Roll the ankle of the inside foot so the big toe edge of the inside ski is off the snow.  Roll that ankle farther as the turn progresses.

*Lighten the inside foot so it barely glides over the snow.  For a drill, lift only the tail of the inside ski off the snow.

*Balance on the ball of the outside foot all the time.

--Glide on your edges on the bunny slope.  Give the turn time to develop.  Don't twist your feet.  Ride the edges.

*Pull the inside foot strongly back all the time through every turn.

*Turn the hips & upper body toward the outside of the turn immediately at the beginning of each turn.  Do this while pulling the inside foot strongly back.  It sounds goofy, but it works.

*Flex at the waist and get your head & shoulders out over the front half of the outside ski.

--Glide on your edges with this added angulation.   Don't try too much.  Very modest angles on pure carved turns on an easy slope are a great start.  Repeat, repeat, repeat.  If you're making pure clean carves on the bunny hill, you can increase the forces, increase the angles, increase the speeds very gradually.

post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thank you folks... I do appreciate all the comments.  I was surprised when I saw how much I was pressuring the inside ski.  Definitely need to work on this

post #7 of 7



There are issues that IMO need to be addressed that are far more critical than just seeking higher edge angle. There is a reason intermediate skiers don't go straight to being experts. There is a cycle of development that occurs.  There is a clear clue in your third photo...


I can see you attempting to SHIFT YOUR WEIGHT to the new outside ski to initiate the turn. In this photo I can see you redirecting your center of mass to the inside of the old turn rather than allowing it to travel (simplified) to the inside of the new turn. IMO this is the #1 problem that develops with the misconstrued concept of getting to the new outside ski early.  Weight transfer and pressure transfer are often confused. And while they are very similar at slow speeds they are radically different once you develop speed,  turn shape and the resulting centripetal force. The ability to achieve higher edge angle comes as a result of developing OTHER skills that permit edging at higher angles. Expert skiing contains the ultimate conundrum: How does the expert skier develop pressure on the new outside ski without trying to move one's weight toward the direction of that ski?  It is a balancing act, for sure, both literally and figuratively. 


There are many elements that I believe need developing BEFORE you will have higher edge angles at your disposal.  Here are some things that I think could help you in your quest if you work on them first...


* How the turn shape and ski direction change contributes to pressure? 

* How do inertia and momentum work in conjunction with the skis changing direction and the resultant centripetal force? 

* How flexion and extension are used to maintain (or add)  pressure when the forces wane and relieve/absorb excess pressure when it develops? 

* How the timing of the flexion and extension in each turn are crucial to pressure management?

* How the forces and pressure elements allow you to direct your center of mass in a seemingly contradictory direction (allowing for increased edging)?

* How to properly direct and move of your center of mass to facilitate the other skill areas and create flow in your movement patterns?

* How the function of your inside ski can help direct your center of mass, provide and important tool for pressure distribution... AND contribute to edging?



To address your original question, I don't think the answer for you is working on edge angle for edge angle's sake. Though one might use edge angle exercises to help develop the other skills it is important to understand that high level edging skills come with developing the other skills first. As you might see, there is no quick internet answer.  I suggest you hook up with a really good instructor in your area who can help you develop your skills to the level you wish to ski at. 


Good luck.  

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