Hmmmm,,,, quite a few comments/questions directed my way, so I'll try to respond to them in one post. If my thoughts don't address your comments, by all means, tap me on the shoulder.
Yes, Disski, the security you sense from driving the inside hip forward is a result of:
* the pronation of the foot that occurs when you do that
* the driving of the inside edge (the business edge) of the outside ski into the snow that pronation causes.
* and the potential (provided by the counter position) to more effectively direct all the turn forces right to that business edge.
Biowolf and Wigs, I understand your reservations about inside hip driving and counter. Everything can be over done, and counter over done can result in the very things you indicate Wigs. We're coming from a time not that long ago when counter was used as a means of manually turning the skis. In that old method of low level skiing edge angle and subtle application of edge carried little importance. Here, counter rotation was an aggressive early move that threw the tails out, created torso torque, and left the skier locked into a common postion untill the sliding was over and it was time for the next big twist. The movement habits carried over from that method of skiing still plaque many recreational skiers.
That is not at all the counter I'm talking about. In carving a clean turn it's crucial that our movements produce an athletic, structurally aligned stance that allows for fine edge controll while offering optimum potential for directing turn forces to the location of our choice, fore/aft or laterally.
A functional counter position will do that. And it does not impose a manual turning force on the ski, it allows the carve to remain pure. Functional does not equate to gross. Functional is enough to encourage pronation, and to allow forward hip flexion to move the CM laterally. The lateral CM movement component is crucial. With no counter forward hip flexion has much less effect on lateral CM relocation. With no counter balancing is either accomplished by lateral hip flexion (which offers limited range of motion) or, more effectively, by supplimenting with knee angulation. Knee angulation is a highly effective means of moving the CM to the outside of the turn, much more effective than hip angulation, but it leaves the body in a very weak position and at risk of being injured.
Wigs, I agree, structurally aligned is always the goal. We only angulate when it's necessary to achieve balance, and then we attempt to make it happen in the hip before we move it down to the knee. With the potential the new skis provide for CM positions now much further inside, hip angulation has become the main angulation game, and knee angulation can be relegated to a supportive role in fine edge controll usage.
And, as I said earlier, some counter will allow that hip angulation to be all the more effective, and allow us to avoid the need to resort to knee angulation as a primary CM mover. And for anyone in doubt, counter should be applied with rotational alignment. This means shoulders, hips, knees, feet in the same directional orientation. There should be no torque anywhere in the body resulting from the counter, because torque weakens the stance and imposes the edging limitations Wigs speaks of.
At transition the drive forward of the inside hip should begin immediately. Why? Because it's part of the movement needed to return to neutral. In this case, rotational neutral. Remember, you were countered in the last turn, so driving the new inside hip forward brings you back to square. And also remember, in the prior turn the forces were being directed to the outside foot. That foot was, because of the counter, slightly behind the old inside foot. As such, if transfer is made to that forward foot (old inside, new outside) with no fore CM adjustment, the CM will be in the back seat at the start of the new turn (not what we want) and the new outside foot will not pronate (pressure has to get back to center to pronate). The driving of the inside hip takes care of these two problems, while at the same time providing the pronation and balance enhancements for the new turn I spoke of earlier.
Ric speaks of the importance of not only driving the hip forward, but also up. Right on the money Ric. Of course the amount of levelness of the hips needed will vary, depending on speed, radius, and edge angle; but in general recreational skiing driving the inside hip up in an attempt to keep the hips level is a good starting point. The dropping of the inside hip, and along with it the whole inside half, is a common recreational skier deficiency that results in balance problems.
Final thought for this post: Someday we should have an in depth talk about carve initiation. The refinement of that one skill can cure multiple ills.