Originally Posted by agreen
In regards to the belly of the turn, when the skis reach the fall line should they be flat, still on old edges, or already beginning to tip on to new edges? Thank you for any help.
Not all "good" turns are alike. Good turns are different. There is no "should." There are some "should nots" however.
For instance, gentle, "good," non-dynamic, steered turns (not carved turns) can involve getting the skis flattened as they point down the fall line, and getting them edged as they turn across the hill.
But that is not what the racers discussed in this thread are doing, not by a long shot. Their skis are flat for a very short time above the fall line as they flip them from one set of edges to another.
These skiers tip their skis onto their downhill edges above the fall line, before those skis turn to face downhill. They feel them engage, or "hook up," behind them, uphill of their bodies, at the very top of the new turn. These racers know how to do this precisely because they have been training for it all their lives. Their goal is to get their skis to follow the fastest line allowed by the gates they are skiing around.
In their case, the highest edge angles are somewhere near the apex of the turn. It varies a little from just above the fall line, at the fall line, or just below it. Their highest edge angles are NOT below the fall line normally, because that's slow (high edge angles at the bottom of the turn provide a braking action). They are in a hurry.
Dynamic turns (on groomers) by recreational skiers have the highest edge angles just before, at, or just after the fall line, just like racers. But recreational skiers are not always after speed, and they don't have gates to go around. They often seek speed control, and are after the thrill of cool-feeling turns instead of crude speed. If they want speed control, then they complete their turns by allowing the skis to track across the hill while flattening them. Flat skis will happen in this case while the skis are pointed across the hill, just like racers.
Getting this type of turn to happen involves getting the body and its weight (the center of mass, COM, or the hips, however one wants to conceptualize it) downhill of both skis while those skis
are pointing and tracking across the hill at the end of the old turn. The skier will be "upside down" on the hill. The skier will feel like his/her body is below the skis. Those skis will tip onto their downhill edges, and then start turning downhill and come around to catch the skier before he/she makes a face-plant. Honestly, it's a great feeling, full of the thrill of riding a roller coaster. And this type of turn does not have to involve high speed travel down the hill.
There are infinite variations between these two opposites (flat skis at fall line, and flat skis above the fall line). Learning to allow the body to cross over the skis while they are pointed and traveling across the hill is the first step to moving towards making dynamic turns. Learning this needs to happen on easy terrain, as in Beginner Terrain, and it needs to get engrained into muscle memory without that thrill I just described. That thrill comes later.
Learning to do this, to get the body to cross over the skis before they point downhill (and thus to tip the skis onto new edges above the fall line), is THE important step that moves an intermediate skier up the skill ladder.