Originally Posted by Colossus178
What about, if not an actual hop, then an upward unweighting motion? When an instructor tells me to sink down in the turn, then rise up to help release the edges, am I being led astray?
Note, when instructors tell you this..they are not wrong. They are trying to emphasize correct movements. However, what is unfortunate I think is that if they explain it the way you just explained it to us, it often teaches the wrong "feeling" to the student. They've taught the right motion, but not the right reason why. You said to "sink down" in the turn and to "standup to release". In reality, when you sink down you are trying to unweight and when you stand up you are trying to ADD weight, not unweight..even though yes you are releasing your edges because your ankles can't edge good when you're standing up.
Let's talk about the 1/2 half of the turn. If you're going across the fall line and you're about to make a turn that will turn you pointing down the fall line and eventually end up heading in the opposite direction back across the fall line..the 2nd half of the turn is starting from the point that you are pointing straight down the mountain until you finish the turn pointing back the other way. That is the 2nd half of the turn. During that phase, the instructor may have been telling you to sink down into your skiis. Especially if you were being taught in Canada. :-)
However.. tell me what is in your mind when you think of "sink down"? You are probably thinking that you're adding more weight to your skiis through that part of the turn...somehow putting force there that makes your skiis gain control. But the reality is exactly the opposite. When you sink down you are actually REMOVING pressure from your skiis. And I think a better mental image is to think of it as if you pulling your feet up to your butt..or even better you are pulling your knees up to your chest. I don't like to think of it as "sinking down". That is an easier way to get the skiers to do the motion..but most of them get exactly the wrong mental image.
Conversely...when you rise up.. you are NOT unweighting. You are ADDING weight during that motion. Think about if you're standing in your living room and you crouch down, then spring up to attention. During that spring up you ADDED pressure to your feet..you did not get lighter. You would only get lighter if you actually HOPPED into the air and then when you reached the top you would be light for an instant. that is WAY WAY old school. But during the extension motion..you'd have more pressure on the soles of your feet, not less.
When current instructors tell you to extend in the beginning of the turn, they are yes trying to get your edges to release a little bit so that you can transfer to the other side, but also they trying to ADD pressure to your skiis. They are assuming that as you turn your skiis into the fall line they will lose pressure with less snow to push against gravity..you're free falling for a moment. During that transition you extend outwards...which increases pressure to the snow and hopefully helps to compensate for the freefalling that is happening at that moment. Thus, maintain a constant edge control with your skiis. And then as you go into the 2nd half of the turn you RELIEVE pressure by crouching (ok, fine, sinking down, but I prefer to say letting the knees come up towards your chest), and that will relieve the pressure against the snow that would otherwise increase during that segment of the turn and cause your edges to lose grip.
Get it? So really... it boils down to this:
Sinking down = unweighting
extending up = weighting
I know that's hard to grasp, But that's exactly why I take issue with instructors that use those terms to get proper ski motions. It may take skiers years to overcome an incorrect mental image on this point.