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What's the most important part of a turn?

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

This is a little thinkpiece/drill that's helped my skiing and that of my Masters teammates. A carved turn can have a short or long radius, but we'd like it to be a clean arc, not a Zorro turn. I can control my speed and direction better and maintain my balancing act better with a clean arc. So if a carved turn has an initiation, middle (fall line) phase, and a completion, which is the most important?

 

Answer: All of the above, for different reasons, and you have a different task for each phase:

 

- Most of my teammates say "The initiation", and it's true that the initiation is key, and is the answer to the question "How do you stop skidding?" Answer: "Don't start." So out of the last turn, I flatten the skis, go to neutral, and start creating and pressuring the new outside edge. Great, check that box.

 

- Middle of the turn is really critical also, and is where a lot of racers/skiers blow the turn. As the ski moves into the fall line, it want to take off...which is good, as long as you move with it. If not, good bye to all that good stuff you started at the initiation. Think of the middle of the turn as that moment where you reestablish your fore/after balance...pull the feet back, press the shins forward into the boot, do whatever it takes to find the center of the ski. Fine, check box number two.

 

- A lot of racers/skiers get the job done at the middle of the turn and leave it at that: Fine, I got the ski going down the hill, I paid a lot of money for my turn radius, so start doing your thing, sidecut. Might work in a free skiing environment, but not in a race course. At the completion of the arc, you need to create a strong platform against the outside ski, where the "pinch at the waist", Schlopy drill move is usually the right answer. Now you have a stable platform...and also speed and direction control, which might be of interest to someone skiing a double black with no gates...from which you can go to neutral, rinse, repeat in the other direction, ad infinitum...

 

:o

post #2 of 22
No turn ends well that doesn't begin well.
post #3 of 22
True, but few turns begin or end well if the previous turn didn't end well, either.

Happy New Year, everyone!
Bob
post #4 of 22
It may seem odd to say this but the entire turn is preceeded by a decision about that upcoming turn. Especially where we are going to place the strong edging effort.
post #5 of 22
What I mean is different turns require us to switch up what we do in each phase. For example; A comma shape turn features a very early strong platform that we simply cannot maintain through the rest of that turn. A closing radius turn features a late strong platform. That is why I said the most important part of the turn varies with intent. Making intent as important as anything else about a turn.
post #6 of 22

To me it's the moment just after the edge change.  You either rush into the next turn or hold on to the old turn with your feet/legs while the COM crosses.  It sets up either a pivot entry or not.

post #7 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkiMangoJazz View Post
 

To me it's the moment just after the edge change.  You either rush into the next turn or hold on to the old turn with your feet/legs while the COM crosses.  It sets up either a pivot entry or not.

Priceless

Patience for a full beat pays off with better control.  Momentum preservation or reduction can be fine tuned with this wee bit of a pause.

post #8 of 22

All of the parts?  Yes in a general way and most definitely for a racer.

 

For an off piste focus the top half of the turn is where all the action is, drifting the tips and foible bleeds energy into the snow so when in the belly of the turn(pointing straight down) the speed is checked so the bottom half can be completed without any braking.  This allows a relaxed release and an initiation to the next turn at the skier's pace(not dictated by the terrain).  This subtle movement is the difference between advanced intermediate and expert skiing.

 

The top half is just another trick in the bag expert skiers have.  My primary trick is turn shape, I thought this meant radius, but nuances to the initiation from early through natural to a late initiation makes for many choices in the line down.  Additionally an early, natural, or late release doubles the ways to shape the turn.

 

I've been known to neglect finishing turns, but when the next turn is right there I love an early release and early initiation. When it's STEEP and hairy I'm not too proud to make a late release and late initiation in the classic J turn.

 

 

Every part is important, but maybe not on every turn on every run.

post #9 of 22
The most important part of every turn is *not* the turn, imo :-)

zenny
post #10 of 22
My opinion is a combination of the 'not' part Zenny speaks of, which is our last hope to avoid the endless chaos that Bob refers to.
post #11 of 22

It really depends on the skier as everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses. Generally my observation in all levels of skiers is that things begin to fall apart when the release of the previous turn is botched, because this puts the skier in a less than advantageous position for the upcoming turn and is in some cases irrecoverable. Of course, there are plenty of other things that can go wrong after this point, but I'd say that the release is the first thing in a string of interconnected movements that could spoil a turn. 

post #12 of 22
I would throw in it is skier dependant. All of the parts of turn are important. The most important part is the part you're having problems with. The things I can easily do don't seem that important to me. The hard things on the other hand, take up all my brain space.

If it is important to not screw up any part of the turn, than the part I have (or am having problems with) became mess the most important to me.
post #13 of 22

This is like asking which link in a particular chain is the most important. If any one of them breaks, the chain fails.:cool

post #14 of 22

In concert with the two posts above, This is the issue with us humans and dynamic sports... We learn in parts but execute in a continuum.

 

The golf swing is another great example. 

post #15 of 22

It must be the apex, because the one most important part is the first half, from initiation to apex, and the other most important part (appologies for abusing English) is the second half, from apex to the finish.  As you can see the Apex appears twice. :D

post #16 of 22

Greetings all...

 

I've been pondering this question and I don't think there is a "most important" part.  In  turn that is deemed successful I believe the "whole" is greater than the sum of its parts. And while there is no most important part there are parts of the turn that may require more focus or analysis, but it will vary from skier to skier and in different conditions. 

post #17 of 22

In car racing (as a former racer), turn entry is the most important. The speed and line in which you enter the turn will have direct consequences on your speed when exiting the turn. You can attempt to control your speed during the turn with the application of trail braking or variation on when and how hard exactly you choose to switch from braking to accelerating, but these are only minor adjustments and are mainly corrective actions.

 

If we are to talk about the #1 thing in car racing, grip, then let's see how it applies to skiing:

 

-The application of inertial forces is the same across racing and skiing

-The application of grip (i.e., friction) is the same, except the difference lies in tires and ski edges. For instance, if you lose grip in a car, you oversteer or understeer. If you have too much grip in a car, that means you're turning too slow and not travelling fast enough, If you lose edge on your skis or you have too much edge, you either skid or you lose contact with the snow and go flying. If you are too comfortable and in control in a turn, you're probably skiing too slow. In both cases, losing grip (or edge) results in a prominent loss of speed and control.

 

If you are properly balanced and on the 100% fastest line at the correct speed at turn entry, then everything should follow logically only requiring minimal corrections in the turn.

 

In car racing the difference between an amateur and Lewis Hamilton is how close you can push your car to the point of losing grip on your turns, and that is dictated by how accurately you can time your braking points and acceleration points on the ideal racing line. Philosophically, I can see how ski racing would be similar in this regard, although obviously the application of this principle would be dictated by the manipulation of your body as opposed to a machine. But the principle remains the same: the turn entry and velocity directly leads to the speed that you can sustain through the turn and most important, the speed that you have when you exit the turn heading into the next turn.

 

But then in a car, you have a fairly reliable machine with suspension that will react in a predictable manner and is basically on auto-pilot. On skis, your body and control thereof acts as the suspension. So I can see how the argument could be made, that unlike car racing, the middle and end of the turn is just as important in skiing as you need to actively adjust your body throughout the turn in order to create the proper "suspension" or "balancing" effect.

post #18 of 22

@iheartnyc  Tell me as a former car racer, when you approach a corner do you pick your apex and set your line as one of the first things you do.  Planning my path through the apex IIRC was the fist thing I did (neither confirm nor deny that I was racing any one).

post #19 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost View Post
 

@iheartnyc  Tell me as a former car racer, when you approach a corner do you pick your apex and set your line as one of the first things you do.  Planning my path through the apex IIRC was the fist thing I did (neither confirm nor deny that I was racing any one).

 

Basically yes, although we would call it "choosing your racing line" more than "choosing your apex" - choosing when (and if) we want to hit the corner (the apex) was basically 95% of the work we did. Basically we would practice the course on a simulator as much as possible before practice laps on the actual track. We experiment with car setup and try different apexes at different speeds and figure out which one is the fastest. Then, on qualifying laps we use the line that we picked. Once you're in a race, obviously the presence of other cars makes you deviate from the record line quite a bit, but at least you know where the ideal apex is, and where your respective braking point and acceleration points are. If you're able to consistently hit your record apex on all your turns, you're either in 1st place or your'e in last.

 

I guess the point is, the "apex" isn't a set middle point on a particular turn. It could come earlier, it could come later, depending on the shape of the turn and the characteristics of the preceding and suceeding turns. So your turn angle could vary dramatically between turns, and you may choose to give up the "ideal" record line on a particular turn to gain advantage for the next or next series of turns. Knowing the track and knowing your car is vital to this regard, but once the race happens the apex is just a guide and the line you take is more or less dictated by the car in front and behind you and that is where your skills at adjusting your braking point/acceleration point on the fly will make you the next Lewis Hamilton or some unnamed scrub like myself. If the car in front of you is in clean air and taking the racing line, you follow and hope they make a mistake for you to perform an overtake. If the car in front is blocked by traffic or is otherwise slower and engaging in overtaking or blocking moves on their own, obviously you adjust your racing line and wait for an opening to overtake. Oftentimes this means you cut on the inside at a higher than sustainable and less than ideal line effectively scrubbing all your speed in a turn, but you are now in a position to block with your physical car the opposing driver from retaking his position thereboy forcing him to slam on his brakes, and both of you take a slow exit from the turn. This of course leads both of you vulnerable to overtaking from another car behind both of you, who can use the ideal racing line to race past both of you.

 

When people talk about being a "good" driver, really the only thing that separates a great racing driver and your average soccer mom in a car is the ability to judge turn entry angle and speed, and the corresponding ability to timely apply gas/brake as appropriate. All the best overtaking moves in professional racing occur during or shortly after a turn, and the ability to do so is 100% dependent on turn exit speed, which is 100% dependent on how you chose to enter the turn in the first place.


Edited by iheartnyc - 1/3/16 at 9:25pm
post #20 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by vindibona1 View Post
 

Greetings all...

 

I've been pondering this question and I don't think there is a "most important" part.  In  turn that is deemed successful I believe the "whole" is greater than the sum of its parts. And while there is no most important part there are parts of the turn that may require more focus or analysis, but it will vary from skier to skier and in different conditions. 


Pretty much what I said, which is that they're all important, and re focus on one part or the other, you can kind of use it as a diagnostic tool:

 

- Do I feel like a hog on ice right from the get-go? Just a wild guess, but you probably need to start by cleaning up your initiation.

 

- Do I feel like a runaway dumpster when the ski enters the fall line? Just a wild guess, but you're probably driving from the back seat, so you might try readjusting your fore/aft balance.

 

- Do I feel like I'm doing the Funky Chicken at the end of the turn? Just a wild guess, but you probably aren't finishing the turn with a stable platform...go into the wilderness and find one, and all your wishes will be granted...

 

:D

post #21 of 22
Quote:
 
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What's the most important part of a turn?

 

Once you get beyond self preservation turning to avoid obstacles and in to linking turns and skiing rhythm the "most important part of a turn" to me seems line the next turn.  Everything I do in one turn is designed to aid in setting up the next turn..

post #22 of 22

@iheartnyc I love the analogies with car racing (or bike, for that matter...). Petrolhead here also... ;)

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