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Pedal Hop Turn - A Wedge Turn For Experts?

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
I am pretty fed up with hearing stylistic condemnation of stemming (aka wedging) per se.

Is it WRONG to use it in teaching methods - sure there are many times when it is awkward uncomfortable and inefficient but....

For many skiers here I guess the snowplough turn (or wedge) was a necessary first step to a stem christiania which was a necessary precursor to parallel turn and eventually the classic wedel on ramrod straight skis.

Now it is not essential because of straight to parallel using shape etc
I think perhaps it is a useful discipline and therefore maybe it is undertaught like side-slipping skills and step turns and skating steps

It is however reasonably intuitive (if awkward) and kids (with their flexibility) stem very naturally (the also have very high CM because their skulls are heavier proportionately so adopt the ass-out style thats so familiar)

However just as a controlled drift turn (aka controlled skidding throughout a smooth turn radius) is now being reconsidered (particularly for moguls) legitimate over carved turns, I would argue that the Pedal Hop Turn on really steep gradients feels very familiar to those old days - and pretty though it isn't - it is pretty much the only way to ski a narrow long 50 degree plus couloir (gully/chute)

Lets break it down Austrian (1960/60 technique) vs French (Chamonix 1990/2000 technique) ( I can't speak for the US)

1) Start in traverse position weight on lower ski, strong angulation towards the valley with shoulders and hips
true of Stem christie and pedal hop turn
2) Stem/Place upper ski to wide angle relative to lower ski and transfer weight onto it
true of stepped Stem christie and pedal hop turn
3) swing lower/inner ski through fall line keeping weight 90-100% on upper/outer ski - but focus on braking effect of outer ski- in one case a hop in the other a slide
true of Stem christie and pedal hop turn
4) Re-assert balance and control speed on now lower ski
true of Stem christie and pedal hop turn

Repeat

The major difference is that the hop is quicker and so 2/3 above blur to a contuous movement (both can involve the fear/control issues of having ski tips cross)

Why so similar - because straight skis don't carve so much and who is worried about carving turns at 50 Degrees + AND extreme rotation of upper body and hips accelerates the unweighted lower limb portions around turn

So - tell me - If you ever did a snowplough/wedge did the pedal hop turn feel familiar (or aren't up to PHT on 50 degrees)
post #2 of 23
Got video?
I'm just an ignorant fool who finds written descriptions of ski turns to be as helpful as dancing about architecture. I'm sure others will understand perfectly, but it would be nice if we could all SEE exactly what you mean.
post #3 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by fairly
However just as a controlled drift turn (aka controlled skidding throughout a smooth turn radius) is now being reconsidered (particularly for moguls) legitimate over carved turns, I would argue that the Pedal Hop Turn on really steep gradients feels very familiar to those old days - and pretty though it isn't - it is pretty much the only way to ski a narrow long 50 degree plus couloir (gully/chute)
Saw a guy at Wildcat a few years ago decked out in "full technical gear" performing the most beautiful PHT's on steep sheer ice. There were only a few idiots out on the mountain that day. My friend and I were beat at the end of the day- I gave up and control skidded the last run down. Then we come up on this dude linking pedal hop turns 3 feet up in the air, rotating like baryshnikov, and landing on the glaze like a cat. Absolutely dead on like a knife sinking in butter. Ski didn't slip one mm. ...one of the prettiest things I've ever seen... as far as skiing is concerned anyway.
post #4 of 23
Thread Starter 
OldSchool

This link talks you through pht in detail with images

See frame 5 for the bit that is most obviously "stemming"

http://www.couloirmag.com/articles/t.../pedal_hop.htm

Then see if you can see what I mean

Medmarkco - yes pretty - but not the way I do them
post #5 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by fairly
Medmarkco - yes pretty - but not the way I do them
Me neither... but it sure was "purty" to watch.
post #6 of 23

I'm so confused.

I've been taught that a stem is a move of the tail of the uphill ski up the hill to create a wedge to initiate a turn. This is different than the PHT.

I've been teaching that the differences between a snowplow and a wedge are the width between the skis/edge angle and the intent of the manuever. A snowplow has a wider distance between the feet (and thus a higher edge angle) and is intended primarily to control speed. A wedge has a narrower stance and is intended primarily to facilitate turning with speed control coming from turn shape instead of edging. In PSIA terminology, a "braking wedge" is the equivalent of the old snowplow.

The primary difference between a wedge christy and a stem christy is that a wedge christy has both ski tips steered into the fall line to create the wedge as opposed to the tail of the uphill ski being moved to create the wedge.

I do agree that a stem turn can be used as an effective means to navigate difficult terrain. I've used stem turns to navigate a mogul field in a total whiteout. All expert skiers should have the stem turn in their bag of tricks. Nonetheless, a stem is inherently inefficient on modern equipment and should not be taught as the PRIMARY means of turning.

I also agree that a wedge stance can be used as an effective means to maintain balance even in high end skiing. On one of the PSIA demo team tapes, a D teamer is making beautiful dynamic parallel turns through chopped up crud. But looking at it frame by frame, you can see in the middle of one of the turns that the skier is in a full wedge position. Of course, that was only for 1/10 of second and virtually undetectable at full speed. But it does prove the point that the wedge has a place in modern skiing as a PRACTICAL technique.

The current thinking for direct to parallel lessons is that one (mostly) does not need to specifically teach the wedge because it is so often learned spontaneously (in which case we've been instructed to not try to fix it - at least during the beginner lesson). At most, it is taught for use in the lift lines.

With respect to being undertaught, the wedge is still being taught at many resorts (my guess is the majority of first time lessons are still teaching the wedge). Stemming, however, is only appropriate for old equipment and rare situations. It is my opinion that this is not being "undertaught" relative to it's usefulness. You've already acknowledged that the PHT is more effective on the steeps. Stemming and wedging are less efficient. So where's the problem?
post #7 of 23
Looks to me like the PHT is a very risky maneuver. Catch a tail or get the uphill ski stuck at a critical moment and you are going for an E ticket ride. I would think a hop turn would be much safer.

I see your point Rusty but shouldn't we fill the bag with primary tricks before we take trips down memory lane? Once skiers reach open parallel skiing I would bet that learning a stem would be quite easy and take maybe a "watch me try this" and they'd have it. Once they had a parallel turn ingrained, they would probably not resort to a stem too often, but should they discover the security of this crutch before a parallel turn is already habitualized, They may take the wrong fork in the road and severely impede their progress toward parallel.

My concern is that we can unintentionally give people an easy to master "crutch" which will inhibit or sidetrack development of the ultimate goal, the parallel turn.

So developing a "stem turn from a platform" progression should IMO, not be focused on until well after the parallel turn has become habitual. And then as a tactic not a technique.

A stem will probably exist in many skiers' repitoires but should we draw attention to it? or develope it? I wouldn't!
Reinforce positive behavior ignore less desiralble behavior.

The Stem turn is the devil's work to keep skiers from reaching Heaven (ie: parallel turns).
post #8 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by fairly
So - tell me - If you ever did a snowplough/wedge did the pedal hop turn feel familiar (or aren't up to PHT on 50 degrees)
fairly- considering the real question you threw out, not just the pleasure of watching a well executed PHT...

I can see modifying a PHT from a slow traverse by slightly stemming the uphill ski to initiate a direction change, but not in deeper snow on a 50* steep- especially if there is any real vert involved.: That sounds like a death wish to me.

The more traditional PHT transfers weight to the uphill skill and launches from that ski, but not by stemming it first. Those that I've done were trying to get up and out of deeper snow and rotated 140-180* or there abouts.

My "buddy" from the earlier post was executing linked stop-to-stop 180's and was obviously practicing for some higher calling- NSP exam or upcoming big mountain adventure maybe?? He wasn't stemming.
post #9 of 23
Thread Starter 
Commentators - Awarded points for spotting the a bit of a troll

IMHO the PHT is widely understood to involve a stem and as theRusty understands correctly - it should not (it does look like one for a microsecond in the sequence though, which was where I got it wrong!)

The BIG difference is that in PHT the inside leg leads in terms of rotation about the shin axis so if anything there is a reverse stem (tails actually cross). and the new upper ski often end up pointing uphill - tips apart

However I still wanted to stimulate debate - theRusty and Bud both make valid comments, but the real thing here was to highlight that if you are trying for PHT (which I did for ages unsucessfully - and its still a horrid mess) - The FIRST thing to understand is that is that the initiation is not a stem at all - but a parallel movement uphill with the uphill foot - I HAD totally missed this point

When this became clear to me - I found I could then launch off it rather than hurtling at a zillion mph towards the valley

If the stem is a useful bag of tricks tool (which it clearly can be - I try to use one every turn lol) I agree it needn't be taught - hence my reference to the way kids find it natural/instinctive/spontaneous - But I do think we also shouldn't talk of it as some kind of Taboo - it happens - naturally - and valuably (sometimes) and is therefore at least a part of skiing and not ALWAYS the devils spawn

Any other views....
post #10 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by bud heishman
I see your point Rusty but shouldn't we fill the bag with primary tricks before we take trips down memory lane?
Bud,

We're in complete agreement here.


Fairly,
Coincidentally, the topic of stem turns came up in two of my clinics last weekend. We practiced the stem to feel the difference in efficiency and to demonstrate the "here's what I see, here's what I want to see, here's how we are going to do it" method of teaching. After we proved how the stem was less efficient and bad and discussed how to fix it, we finished the discussion of when the stem was useful.

Just because something is less efficient does not mean that it can't be more practical or more fun or more ... (fill in the blank). Learning old techniques can be a lot of fun even if they are not very useful. Ever tried an Arlberg turn?
post #11 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by fairly
OldSchool

This link talks you through pht in detail with images

See frame 5 for the bit that is most obviously "stemming"

http://www.couloirmag.com/articles/t.../pedal_hop.htm

Then see if you can see what I mean
Thanks for the link.
One thing:
Instead of this


Why not do this?


Sorry to subject you to my artistry!
post #12 of 23
[Let me have it - I'm here to learn!]

What I mean (above pics) is an old 'ballet skiing' turn (see: Wayne Wong, etc). I use them frequently in these situations and feel comfortable - more comfortable than I would with w/a pedal hop, I think, because the tail of my downhill ski goes in front of the uphill leg.

It seems to me that in the p-hop if you have any problem you're going to spill. The method I suggest allows you greater freedom, and it is a more fluid sweep - the direction your body will go if you fall at any stage of the turn is back and down, which is exactly where you want to go with your body. If you do have a problem mid-turn you'll be falling in the direction that will best aid your recovery.
With the pedal-hop it seems there's good potential for a valley-forward faceplant.

As far as energy spent, they seem about equal to me.
post #13 of 23
Scary stuff OS... could be pulled off, but VERY risky. Did you read 50*?? : It adds to the complexity of the turn- especially if in deeper snow than in your pic. By crossing the "downhill" ski in front prior to take off, not only would elevation and rotation have to be strong, you would have to make sure to clear the tail of the crossed ski on the way around. If not, instant trip.

Goofing around, maybe, but wouldn't be my cup of tea in the steeps.
post #14 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by medmarkco
Did you read 50*??.
? Uh...no? What do you mean? What am I missing here?

Quote:
It adds to the complexity of the turn- especially if in deeper snow than in your pic.
Yes, if the snow is knee-deep it wouldn't be great.

[quote]By crossing the "downhill" ski in front prior to take off, not only would elevation and rotation have to be strong, you would have to make sure to clear the tail of the crossed ski on the way around. If not, instant trip.[quote]It's not as tricky as it seems if it is all done in one motion:

Uphill leg is slightly flexed -

Downhill ski is lifted -

and gently kicked forward -

when the tail clears the uphill boot, allow the leg to continue forward a little and let it continue its natural course (to 'fall' downhill and slightly backward, as if to make a half-circle) -

roll your outside shoulder back as you "fall" -

and push off/hop with the uphill ski.

The momentum of your outkicked downhill leg will change your direction once the hop brings you up off the snow - and voila! you're going the other way.


Quote:
Goofing around, maybe, but wouldn't be my cup of tea in the steeps.
I'm not putting this out there as a show-boating move - I feel it is perhaps a more stable turn than the pedal-hop (though not in deep snow)...just how I feel but I'd like to know if I'm needlessly endangering myself by having overlooked something, or whatever.
Do others know the turn I'm describing (poorly, I think -sorry)?
I'm sure the turn I'm describing must have a name from the "ballet" days, but I could find almost nothing image-wise regarding 'ballet skiing'.
post #15 of 23
Thread Starter 
OLDSCHOOL

Either your joints are on backwqards or there is some confusion methinks

In the picture above - the boot you made yellow is the downhill ski So you appear to be suggesting that we should lift our down hill tail and put it in front of our uphill shin , then turn (with a hop) on uphill ski

Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeekkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkksssssssssss argggg

Rather you than me
post #16 of 23
Thread Starter 
OldSchool - The light has dawned - You are talking about a kick turn , when the tail of the downhill ski is a pivot.

In PHT the down hill ski stays off the ground , swung behind uphill calf so uphill is totally clear to pivot.

The kick turn can be almost slow-mo and is very balletic (if your groin is flexible enough), the pht is extremely dynamic , once committed to there is no going back, but also no risk of crossing skis

This is why your turn is liminted to gradients of maybe 35 or so, at 50+ you would never get the lower round before the upper slid under it I suspect

Hence all the confusion

Unless......... (Anyone help)
post #17 of 23
[quote=OldSchool]? Uh...no? What do you mean? What am I missing here?

Wasn't being flippant... just that fairly's original post suggested doing this move on a 50* degree steep. Just curious if you were considering that in conjunction with the "Wayne Wong" turn. Seems risky to me in that situation.

I'm sure the turn could be pulled off in the way you describe- especially with shorter skis- but I personally wouldn't choose it.
post #18 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by fairly
OldSchool - The light has dawned - You are talking about a kick turn , when the tail of the downhill ski is a pivot.

In PHT the down hill ski stays off the ground , swung behind uphill calf so uphill is totally clear to pivot.

The kick turn can be almost slow-mo and is very balletic (if your groin is flexible enough), the pht is extremely dynamic , once committed to there is no going back, but also no risk of crossing skis

This is why your turn is liminted to gradients of maybe 35 or so, at 50+ you would never get the lower round before the upper slid under it I suspect

Hence all the confusion

Unless......... (Anyone help)
Now I'm confused - I'm not sure we are talking about the same turn.
[Sorry to everyone for explaining this so poorly!]
I wouldn't say the downhill ski acts as a pivot because once you lift it to begin the little kick it doesn't touch the ground again until it is pointed the opposite way.
What I like about this turn is that the risk of crossing skis is lower, imo.

[quote=medmarkco]
Quote:
Originally Posted by OldSchool
Wasn't being flippant... just that fairly's original post suggested doing this move on a 50* degree steep. Just curious if you were considering that in conjunction with the "Wayne Wong" turn. Seems risky to me in that situation.

I'm sure the turn could be pulled off in the way you describe- especially with shorter skis- but I personally wouldn't choose it.
Ha ha - I actually thought you meant there was a book on steeps called 50*! Too bad there isn't (or is there?).
You're right about shorter skis, but skis now are so much shorter than they used to be - I'm fine with it on my 180's.
[pleasepleaseplease]If we get some snow[/pleasepleaseplease] I'll try them both out on some steeps on Blackcomb and report back...
post #19 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by OldSchool
Now I'm confused - I'm not sure we are talking about the same turn.
[Sorry to everyone for explaining this so poorly!]
I wouldn't say the downhill ski acts as a pivot because once you lift it to begin the little kick it doesn't touch the ground again until it is pointed the opposite way.
What I like about this turn is that the risk of crossing skis is lower, imo.
OldSchool - Clarification Please
It ( the old downhill ski) doesn't touch the ground until is pointed the other way - BUT does it touch the ground before weight comes off old uphill ski??
In the PHT it stays up while upper ski rotates and lands only THEN the new upper ski lands (hop move!!!)
If I am reading you right the move you describe is totally different and doesn't involve an upper ski hop and just before end you have new upper weighted while old upper rotates.
If this is the case I think this would explain why medmarko is not happy with your move on very steep

In simple words PHT involves a turn hopping say on left foot where left foot goes from upper ski to lower ski (the old lower kind of dangles inside in the process - on an imaginary pedal - its actually part of the unweighting by its down action WITHOUT it contacting the snow)

Does this help or am I throwing in total confusion
post #20 of 23

that would be a "frontside" pedal hop turn because the downhill ski is initiating the turn in a big dynamic way -- yet from a static stance; i.e., the classic and probably most useful "survival" turn in the toolbox. Do this for 1000 meters and tell me you're not tired.

 

-- f9a 

post #21 of 23

well, with the classic PHT, once the initial roatation is 80% complete the initial static uphill ski becomes the dominant downhill ski and skier has access to all the edge grip afforded from the extended (now) downhill leg.

 

The moment of transition from skis at 9 o'clock through noontime to 3 o'clock doesn't leave much room for finesse -- the skis are basically rotating like heli blades in the air at noon -- just a hopeful and quad busting agony of scrubbing speed for another one of these manuevers. Hopefully, you're not on a 2000 meter narrow pitch when you have to employ this.

 

-- f9a 

post #22 of 23

these is some great example of pedal or step turn in this video.

 

http://www.thesnowpros.org/index.php/PSIA-AASI/video-gallery/skiing-tight-areas

 

also great advice about never stopping movement down the hill.

post #23 of 23
 This is actually a Christy Pedal Kickturn. It sounds and looks like a difficult skateboard trick. The problem is that human anatomy doesn't very well allow one to drive the downhill leg up and forward to let the tail of the DH ski pass the UH leg (all the whilst keeping neutral shoulders and hips) and rotate the fully weighted UH ski in a quick enough transition. It's easy enough to do once in isolation — in fact it's a technique for skiing steep chutes — but make several (6) linked turns this way, and I'm guessing it's about V9 in bouldering difficulty.
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