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Feeling heavy versus feeling light between turns

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

Phil McNichol make this statement in the video recently posted by jesinstr: 


The less you can feel light between your turns, the better you're doing. We all feel that loss of gravity, like the airplane just dropped, in between turns. You want to feel heavy. Instead of just feeling light, and coming across the skis, I want to deliver pressure into this ski [uphill ski] and actively push myself across my ski into the new turn.


What I find interesting about the statement is that it contradicts a certain widely held notion that skiers should feel "weightless" in transition. 


I like Phil's premise because it promotes early balance on the outside ski, and early shaping of the turn. He's almost tapped into everything I've been working on in my own skiing this winter... 


The language around actively pushing surprises me. Mostly because a push is disruptive, where I'm working on spreading pressure evenly across the entire turn. 


Any other thoughts on feeling light/heavy? 

post #2 of 3

A bit of irony exist because not disrupting flow would be the reason for not using excessive pushing. It also is perplexing to read less pressure / more pressure stuff every few years. It's actually situational and how you enter the next turn totally depends on what you expect to achieve in that next turn. Can you make the first third the strong shaping phase? How about the middle third? Or the final third? Each has a pressure management activity that may not always be congruent with placing that strong shaping phase in a different part of the turn. That being said a heavy feeling on skis is about stability and constant contact with the snow, which helps us feel more stable. From there the derivative of gaining ground and getting to the bottom faster (a race) by pushing our bodies there make logical sense even though the assumption that needs to be made is itself curious. If the core is needing a push it got left behind. If it is already where you would have pushed it, the move seems sort of redundant. Confusion from both sides of this debate hasn't produces any one conclusion. Only more confusion.

At best not screwing up the later part of the present turn, or immediate future turn can be offered as a threshold to avoid exceeding. But in doing so equal pressure (or as equal as possible) also implies some other release mechanism must be used. If not pressure then what?

Edited by justanotherskipro - 3/14/15 at 4:00pm
post #3 of 3


This video analysis, originally posted by Tog in another thread, is also relevant because, for purposes of the current thread, I think it gives color on what McNichol means by "heavy." 


As far as feeling weightless in transition, I'd make a couple points.  First, for some transitions it's inevitable to get the skis to do what you want, for instance many times in slalom.  Second, for really round turns while freecarving, you can feel faulted into the next turn even without losing contact with the snow -- so turn shape and terrain can play a role. 


Most importantly, though, the camp most ardent about having a weightless "float" and not actively creating pressure on the ski, and instead waiting for the turn to develop, is at core a freecarving camp, with a lot of attention developmentally to pivoting along with a focus on carving the bottom of the turn.  Nothing wrong with that, but it's a different game imo  in terms of the focus given on those things developmentally. 


Maybe second most importantly, yes most developing skiers would/will screw up the idea of actively extending initially if it's presented to them with that verbiage.  If you present it to them as, for instance, a patience turn, or a bte to bte drill, to keep them task-focused without thinking about pushing hard, there are better chances of success.

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