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Rushing those first day turns...

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
There I was, braving the white ribbon of death with thousands of my closest friends at Copper Mountain yesterday, playing with my turns on typical early-season conditions. I played with a bunch of things, but I noticed one old habit in particular that I'd like to overcome this season: I tend to rush the turn initiation.

I find myself lifting the new inside ski early in the turn and redirecting it downhill instead of waiting for the turn to develop and the skis to hook up.

I really worked on this for my last few runs, trying to understand the root of the habit and to work on approaches to overcome it. What I think I found is that I'm not trusting my edges on the hardpack, the crowded nature of the trail led me to avoid carving for too long (too fast, too many people for safety), and I have the age-old habit of slamming the edges and pivoting into the new turn.

I'd like to hear any thoughts you have on this, together with any recommendations for ways to work on overcoming it.

Thanks!
post #2 of 26
Patience, ssh.

You are trying too hard, trying to make it happen when you could be letting it happen. That includes trying to carve in a buffalo herd.
post #3 of 26
Fascinating that you bring this up now. I was having the exact same thoughts today, when I almost went into the same sort of fall that lead to my MCL strain a few weeks ago. {fortunately, this time it didn't happen, my reflexes were better}

This season, my two wipeouts have happened at the point where I was feeling the most confident. I realize that I get very excited that things seem to be going well, and there's this little "YEAH!" that happens inside of me. Unfortunately, that "yeah" can be a bit too strong, creating a turn iniation, that is jerky, resulting in instability.

While I feel weird giving you advice, since you are a much higher level skier than I am, these are some of the things that have helped me:

1. Coordinate turn initiation with breathing.
2. Find a musical cadence that you like, and time your turns initiation with the top of the phrase. My favorite is the musical rift from Eric Clapton's Layla.
3. I hope nobody finds this one offensive. Imagine you are performing foreplay on the snow with your skis.
4. This one from Bob Peters: Short radius turns are still complete turns. In a situation such as the White Ribbon of Death at Copper, with 1,00 of your best friends, your only choice is short radius. Any deviation from your line is going to get you hit. If it was anything as bad as it was on Friday, you were skiing shoulder to shoulder. Too much skid across the hill could get you in big trouble.
5. From Ydnar: Say to yourself "Patience Patience Patience Patience"

BTW, none of this helped me at Copper on Friday. Sometimes, if there is a situation that you percieve as dangerous, it may well be. Either find someone who you trust a whole lot and have them ski with you, or take less runs. Personally, it's way too easy for my defensive habots to become ingrained.

Thus says Gaper #1!
post #4 of 26
Another exercise is to listen to the sould of your skis on the snow and try to make it as quiet as possible as you turn. This results in a patience sort of turn.

See if you can get an even
sssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss

sound as you turn. The little bitty ssss are at the transitions and the sssss is at the belly of the turn. The sound should modulate evenly with the volume relating to the intensity of the turn.

If you hear a sssssssssssssssssss, a definate abrupt change in volume, you can bet that is where you are skidding or forcing. If you look at the track you can see it.

Hope this helps,
post #5 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by ssh
... I noticed one old habit in particular that I'd like to overcome this season: I tend to rush the turn initiation. ... I really worked on this for my last few runs, trying to understand the root of the habit and to work on approaches to overcome it. What I think I found is that I'm not trusting my edges on the hardpack, the crowded nature of the trail led me to avoid carving for too long (too fast, too many people for safety), and I have the age-old habit of slamming the edges and pivoting into the new turn....
Steve - Could it be that a lack of intent to carve is the real issue, and not technique.

I have been in plenty of situations that were so incredibly crowded that my only real option was to do ski at exactly the same speed as all the snowplowers and edge-setters around me, and not to deviate from a straight line down the hill by more than a foot or two. In such a situation, as far as I can tell, my only options are to:

a) Ski the same way myself; or, a bit more fun and productive,

b) Perfect your sideslips - Go a few hundred feet downhill with your skis parallel and pointed to the left (CM going straight down the fall line), then do a few hundred feet more pointed to the right. Great for perfecting edge control and fore-aft pressure control, especially coming down cat-tracks in the middle of a herd.

c) Work on doing continuous, on-the-ground whirly-birds. People tend to give one lots of room when they see you doing something like this. Besides, it gives you a radar-like sweep of your neighbors ever 5 or 10 seconds, so if anyone is heading right at you, there's time to raise your pole tips in their direction. (...just joking, I think).

Tom / PM

PS - I take it you haven't skied the east much?
post #6 of 26
ssh:

Given the crowded hills AND the fact that it is so early in the season, perhaps it might be helpful to hold back on the strongly edged carving type of turns for a while. I suggest some "delay" turns. This is a basic parallel turn ( the skis follow a skidded arc not a carved track) in which the initiation phase is stretched out time wise. On a shallow slope, start a new turn VERY SLOWLY (ridiculously slowly) moving across the skis and turning both legs as the skis flatten on the snow. Think right tip right to turn right, left tip left to turn left. Don`t be too concerned about tipping the skis on to their new edges in this exercises; just let the skis edge naturally. Let me re-emphasize
the need to go very slow.

Rationale:

Since your intent in a basic parallel turn is to produce a skidded arc, you will be less likely to focus on getting those suckers on edge so you can rip. The delay component allows you to FEEL both feet turning at the same time on the snow, without any need to add another movement such as picking up the inside ski. Go as slow as required the feel this happening; then you can speed it up a bit-sticking to basic parallel, but without the delay part.

Another option is to step your way through the whole turn. Sometimes called "1000 steps". Make sure you are stepping through the transition phase ( as you change edges and point the skis in the new direction.) This wiil bring your inside ski more productively into the picture. After a few runs of this, try doing the 1000 steps for half the run and then, without stopping, start regular turns, keeping the inside ski on the snow. Start with a shallow slope until you get it, then progress to something steeper.

If you give this a try, I am interested in hearing if it worked for you or not. And if something else worked, I`d like to hear that too. Good luck!

cdnguy
post #7 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by ssh
... I noticed one old habit in particular that I'd like to overcome this season: I tend to rush the turn initiation. ... I really worked on this for my last few runs, trying to understand the root of the habit and to work on approaches to overcome it. What I think I found is that I'm not trusting my edges on the hardpack, the crowded nature of the trail led me to avoid carving for too long (too fast, too many people for safety), and I have the age-old habit of slamming the edges and pivoting into the new turn....
Steve - Could it be that a lack of intent to carve is the real issue, and not technique.

I have been in plenty of situations that were so incredibly crowded that my only real option was to do ski at exactly the same speed as all the snowplowers and edge-setters around me, and not to deviate from a straight line down the hill by more than a foot or two. In such a situation, as far as I can tell, my only options are to:

a) Ski the same way myself; or, a bit more fun and productive,

b) Perfect your sideslips - Go a few hundred feet downhill with your skis parallel and pointed to the left (CM going straight down the fall line), then do a few hundred feet more pointed to the right. Great for perfecting edge control and fore-aft pressure control, especially coming down cat-tracks in the middle of a herd.

c) Work on doing continuous, on-the-ground whirly-birds. People tend to give one lots of room when they see you doing something like this. Besides, it gives you a radar-like sweep of your neighbors ever 5 or 10 seconds, so if anyone is heading right at you, there's time to raise your pole tips in their direction. (...just joking, I think).

Tom / PM

PS - I take it you haven't skied the east much?
post #8 of 26

I love forums

Quote:
Originally Posted by ssh
I find myself lifting the new inside ski early in the turn and redirecting it downhill instead of waiting for the turn to develop and the skis to hook up.
Could it be, if I take that description literally, that the action to initiate the new turn is late? I lift the new inside ski and tip it while it's still the old outside downhill ski of my last turn. If I do what your saying, the skis will hook up late every time.

If you are lifting and tipping the inside ski after you pass the "transition line" (the centerline through your linked turns), then it would always be a catchup game.

Where in the turn are you doing your "lift and tip" of the new turns inside ski?

But, as is usual in forum land, I could be totally misunderstanding what I'm reading.

Hopefully Copper won't be so nuts on Wednesday! The advice given is what I do on crowded runs. I just imagine a little short salom course and stay in it, usually picking either a right or left edge of the trail. That way I stay out of most people's way and still have some fun runs.
post #9 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by nolo
Patience, ssh.

You are trying too hard, trying to make it happen when you could be letting it happen. That includes trying to carve in a buffalo herd.
Exactly right. It helps that the RX8s have 14m turn radius. I can carve in a pretty narrow corridor. But, I tend to scare those sliding around the slope around me! I was playing with skarves a lot, too... But, those aren't as much fun on the snow that we had: piles of fluff right next to scraped icy hardpack.
post #10 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lisamarie
While I feel weird giving you advice, since you are a much higher level skier than I am, these are some of the things that have helped me:

1. Coordinate turn initiation with breathing.
2. Find a musical cadence that you like, and time your turns initiation with the top of the phrase. My favorite is the musical rift from Eric Clapton's Layla.
3. I hope nobody finds this one offensive. Imagine you are performing foreplay on the snow with your skis.
4. This one from Bob Peters: Short radius turns are still complete turns. In a situation such as the White Ribbon of Death at Copper, with 1,00 of your best friends, your only choice is short radius. Any deviation from your line is going to get you hit. If it was anything as bad as it was on Friday, you were skiing shoulder to shoulder. Too much skid across the hill could get you in big trouble.
5. From Ydnar: Say to yourself "Patience Patience Patience Patience"

BTW, none of this helped me at Copper on Friday. Sometimes, if there is a situation that you percieve as dangerous, it may well be. Either find someone who you trust a whole lot and have them ski with you, or take less runs. Personally, it's way too easy for my defensive habots to become ingrained.

Thus says Gaper #1!
Please don't feel weird about it! I know that I can learn from everyone, and I'm delighted that you felt comfortable enough to let me know your thoughts. I think your ideas here are really good ones, and I'm going to play with them. Your item 3 is a much more visual way of describing what Peter Hoppock takes pages describing in "Do You Slip or Grip" in the Fall '04 TPS! I was playing with those ideas while I was doing this, but your visual will be interesting to play with.

Thanks!!!!
post #11 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by T-Square
Another exercise is to listen to the sould of your skis on the snow and try to make it as quiet as possible as you turn. This results in a patience sort of turn.

See if you can get an even
sssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss
Nice drill, T-Square... On Saturday, though, I couldn't hear anything from my skis... Just too loud with all those folks out there!
post #12 of 26
Thread Starter 
I'm seeing double!

Quote:
Originally Posted by PhysicsMan
Steve - Could it be that a lack of intent to carve is the real issue, and not technique.
Yes, I do think that this is a key to the lack of carving... But, I still shouldn't need to rush my turn, right?

Quote:
Originally Posted by PhysicsMan
c) Work on doing continuous, on-the-ground whirly-birds. People tend to give one lots of room when they see you doing something like this. Besides, it gives you a radar-like sweep of your neighbors ever 5 or 10 seconds, so if anyone is heading right at you, there's time to raise your pole tips in their direction. (...just joking, I think).
Hmmm... I may try that next time... It would be good for some laughs if for nothing else!

Quote:
Originally Posted by PhysicsMan
PS - I take it you haven't skied the east much?
I grew up skiing in Michigan, then spent 3 years in the Catskills. It's fair to say that I don't miss skiing there, though! We've been here in the west since '86, and in Colorado since spring of '90.
post #13 of 26
Some roots go way back. Here's just a possibility not to overlook. If you learned to ski on long stiff boards, you mostly used just the outside ski to make slow turns; you had to take your weight off the inside ski to have enough weight flexing the outside ski into the desired arc at slow speeds. The habit that could have developed is to already not have the inside ski on the ground during the first turn, and consequently, it is put down (as the new outside ski) to make the second turn in which ever direction is most efficient.

In effect your skipping part of the turn. So what? You didn't need that part anyway.

Maybe just play with keeping weight on both skis all the time as you flop from left to right like a hinge.
post #14 of 26
Steve,

It's a known fact that effective carving is known to scare the tourists. To the extent the troubles come from the crowded conditions, the easy solution is intuitively obvious: run them over. (okay - just kidding) One solution I've used in early season skiing is to purposely ski the nastiest snow on the trail that everyone is avoiding. Out of uniform, I've found that hollering exuberantly tends to clear a path ahead. And if that fails, the comment "what the F was that" is most satisfying after you wizz by a tourist (insert your own punch line here).

To the extent that there is actually something you want to work on, with the caveat that I don't have a good picture of what is actually going on, I'll offer 3 exercises to assist the situation that you've described:
1) Skate turns. Initiate your turns with a skating step onto the inside ski. I'm a bit nervous about this exercise because you have to lift the inside ski first to skate step onto it, but the point of this exercise is to move weight onto the inside ski and get it on the new edge quickly. But since you are already lifting the ski, this may actually be a good exercise to transition you out of this maneuver.
2) Check turns. I've helped some of my students by having them finish turns with a pronounced "uphill check" move. By sharply decreasing the radius of the old turn at the end of the turn, the skis will block the body and force the CM to begin crossing over. This move actually prevents the inside ski from being lifted to initiate the new turn. This move is helped when you reach uncomfortably far down the hill with your pole touch after the check move. The goal of this exaggeration exercise is get an obvious feeling of crossover and help defeat the inate (and often unnoticed) fear of "falling" into the new turn.
3) Bamboo turns. Leave your poles behind. Carry a stick of bamboo on top of your shoulders (behind the neck) with both hands holding on to the bamboo. Try to keep the bamboo parallel to the slope pitch at all times. By focusing on the hip and shoulder positions necessary to accomplish this task, you will find it more difficult to lift the inside ski. It helps to have a watcher give you feedback on well you're doing.

When the inside ski is being lifted in order to help it be turned (as opposed to racers lifting the inside ski to increase pressure on the outside ski), it's usually being done because that's the ONLY way to turn the ski. The cause is inefficient upper body movement earlier in the turn. If you continue to have trouble with this, video can be very very helpful.
post #15 of 26
Steve,

Just enjoy being back on snow! Don't get technical early on-it's only November. We'll get technical soon enough when we crank up the "great training machine". Still a few weeks away.

If you want to play with anything early on just focus on being balanced and centered. Big Hint-guess where early training is going to be focused!!! It you ain't there everything else is compensation.

Besides-it was a freakin zoo up there this weekend. As other have noted it is not the place to be worrying about carving.
post #16 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cdnguy
I suggest some "delay" turns. This is a basic parallel turn ( the skis follow a skidded arc not a carved track) in which the initiation phase is stretched out time wise. On a shallow slope, start a new turn VERY SLOWLY (ridiculously slowly) moving across the skis and turning both legs as the skis flatten on the snow. Think right tip right to turn right, left tip left to turn left. Don`t be too concerned about tipping the skis on to their new edges in this exercises; just let the skis edge naturally. Let me re-emphasize
the need to go very slow.
Ah! Even slower! I'm going to play with this, too...
post #17 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Mason
I lift the new inside ski and tip it while it's still the old outside downhill ski of my last turn.
This is what I was describing. I don't see any reason to lift at all.

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Mason
Where in the turn are you doing your "lift and tip" of the new turns inside ski?
As I begin to think about the new turn... Think of it as the end of the prior turn, I think.
post #18 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost
Some roots go way back. Here's just a possibility not to overlook. If you learned to ski on long stiff boards, you mostly used just the outside ski to make slow turns; you had to take your weight off the inside ski to have enough weight flexing the outside ski into the desired arc at slow speeds. The habit that could have developed is to already not have the inside ski on the ground during the first turn, and consequently, it is put down (as the new outside ski) to make the second turn in which ever direction is most efficient.

In effect your skipping part of the turn. So what? You didn't need that part anyway.

Maybe just play with keeping weight on both skis all the time as you flop from left to right like a hinge.
Yes, that is undoubtedly why. But, I don't need to do this any more! The new equipment means that I don't need to force the turn at all. I can be progressive in all phases of the turn, right?
post #19 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by therusty
2) Check turns. I've helped some of my students by having them finish turns with a pronounced "uphill check" move. By sharply decreasing the radius of the old turn at the end of the turn, the skis will block the body and force the CM to begin crossing over. This move actually prevents the inside ski from being lifted to initiate the new turn. This move is helped when you reach uncomfortably far down the hill with your pole touch after the check move. The goal of this exaggeration exercise is get an obvious feeling of crossover and help defeat the inate (and often unnoticed) fear of "falling" into the new turn.
I'll have video at the ESA... And maybe at training before that (I have no idea how training works at Copper, yet!).

But, it is actually this kind of turn that I'm trying to move away from. This is my old "bread-and-butter" turn: snap onto the edges and use the "pop" to crossover into the new turn. But, I'll think of doing that with the reach and play with it...
post #20 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikewil
Just enjoy being back on snow! Don't get technical early on-it's only November. We'll get technical soon enough when we crank up the "great training machine". Still a few weeks away.

If you want to play with anything early on just focus on being balanced and centered.
Oh, I did. I'm a bit of a technique freak, though, and like to play with it when I'm terrain limited. This is no big worry for me, or anything that reduced my enjoyment at all. Just something that I noticed and played with a bit.

I usually start with balancing and getting centered. So I'm on the right track, I guess. Just playing with my skiing. What else is there to do on the white ribbon?!
post #21 of 26
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the ideas, ya'll!
post #22 of 26
ssh:

Just thought of another approach to the lifting of the inside ski thing. it`s sometimes called uphill ski turns, or 1 foot turns. Lets do a right turn. On shallow terrain and slowly--before releasing your edges (from the previous leff turn) pick up the left (uphill) ski. This leaves you standing exclusively on the right ski. Slowly tip and pivot your right ski to initiate the new (right) turn. You will end up on the uphill edge of the right ski. You will have initiated the turn exclusively with the ski that previously would have been lifted. Then put the ski down and pick up the right ski and do the 1 ski turn off the left leg. This exercise powerfully engages the inside ski, and can break the habit of lifting it when skiing on two skis.

cdnguy
post #23 of 26
Try skiing like a girl it works for me!!! Can't wait to ski with you at Copper this season!
Katy
post #24 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lisamarie
Imagine you are performing foreplay on the snow with your skis.
Huuuuh??? Foreplay???? But,,,, that was foreplay!!! :

LM, I think that strategy might work better for the female segment of your audience.

Here's the guy version. Imagine turn initiation being like sneaking into your tree stand in the morning.

FASTMAN
post #25 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tsavo
Try skiing like a girl it works for me!!! Can't wait to ski with you at Copper this season!
As long as you'll wait for me at the lift! I'm looking forward to it, too!
post #26 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cdnguy
Just thought of another approach to the lifting of the inside ski thing. it`s sometimes called uphill ski turns, or 1 foot turns. Lets do a right turn. On shallow terrain and slowly--before releasing your edges (from the previous leff turn) pick up the left (uphill) ski. This leaves you standing exclusively on the right ski. Slowly tip and pivot your right ski to initiate the new (right) turn. You will end up on the uphill edge of the right ski. You will have initiated the turn exclusively with the ski that previously would have been lifted. Then put the ski down and pick up the right ski and do the 1 ski turn off the left leg. This exercise powerfully engages the inside ski, and can break the habit of lifting it when skiing on two skis.
Ooo! That sounds like a winner to me! I'm going to try that!
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