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...