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too much counter-rotation??

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
the one time a year when i ski with an instructor (friend always skis with 2... get to tag along 1 weekend a year), over the past 2 years they've consistently told me to follow my skis more, especially on steep/moguled terrain, saying that i counter-rotate/face downhill too much and so compromise my balance. i always feel like i am more aggressive in attacking bumps/chutes/steeps/trees when im facing more down the hill/can achieve higher speeds and control them more easily. especially when i break my skis sideways across the fall line in powder to control speed (especially in trees), i feel like im much better balanced/poised to return to the arc when im counter-rotated. what say ye?
post #2 of 10
Facing down the hill is a very good thing. I would have to see video or frame-by-frame pics, but what I would imagine is that you may be initiating your turn by rotating your hips (butt) inside, causing a loss of balance. Facing down the hill is key, but so is initiating the turn with small joints (ankles, knees) before big ones.

But I am making a huge assumption and could be way off.
post #3 of 10
If you consider that facing downhill should result from turning the skis more than turning the upper body thru the bottom of the turn, you can see that the lower body is "wound up" against the upper body. If you are in a situation where you really want, or need, to re-direct the skis in the top of the next turn (i.e. steep, narrow or bump zipper-lines) this wind-up of the legs will naturally un-wind upon release of the edges and quickly re-direct the skis back into the falline.

If you do not desire to have, or use, this re-directing effect, as in longer radius turns, or when you are trying to carve arc-2-arc, you need, and want, less of this wind-up/un-winding effect so you could follow the skis a little more.

However, consider that thru the turn finish the body should sort of be facing where it will be going when released, to where it will be on an inside line when the skis are out in the falline in the next turn.

Also, this should be developed throughout the turn by forward movement of the inside half of the body, not rearward counter movement of the outside half. Some forward movement of the inside hip keeps the inside half of the body strongly leading, and allows the upper body more freedom of lateral movement to balance than is available when completely square to the skis.

The term counter-rotation is kind of out of context here and can be mis-leading to unwanted "counter" productive movements.
post #4 of 10
If the instructors both have commented on the fact that they think you conter-rotate your upper body too much they both think that by doing that less you can imporve on your skiing. Lets assume they are doing a good job and that they are skilled instructros. I would assume your counter rotation is combined with too much skidding and wind shield viper turn. This is an assumption and I could be wrong. I have my roots in old school instruction and I feel the counter rotation of the upper body is important but I have had many students, especially women, that tend to twist their body with a very strong counter moove mid turn and then skidd heavily with the tails of the skis. What they should be doing is turning with an evenly skidded rounder turn radius. This should take care of the problem.
post #5 of 10
Yea, I think it can be a little bit confusing for some people that were taught by their friends to "keep their upper body facing down the mountain". Usually this is because they were over rotating and trying to pull their skiis around with their upper body..a very common problem.

I think the reality is closer to what Arcmeister just described... A slight bit of counter-rotation throughout the turn is good..but I don't even like to think of it as counter-rotation nor especially to use that term with students. If the hip angles and everything else is in place, a natural little bit of counter will be there. And I think the right amount is just as was said...as you finish the turn your hips and upper body are now already pointing towards slightly inside of the new turn and ready for you to move laterally/forward across to the new turn very easily without having to rotate or counter rotate your upper body a single bit.

I will say, that in really tight/small turns...like if you're skiing a zipper line through bumps...There may be a bit more of a tendency to have more counter and the upper body may be largely facing straight down the hill. However if I were skiing bumps down the zipper and suddenly had to make a longer radius turn for some reason, in my mind it would be sensible for my upper body to follow the path of the skiis..just behind them, not quite squared off.
post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
The instructors have said it's not a problem in longer-radius turns, or really on groomers at all. Where it rears its head is usually in crud/chopped up powder. I don't think its tied to "skidding my tails" as that technique simply doesn't work in powder - and the skidding comes pretty much throughout the turn. My hips don't appear to be too far behind - I'm usually pretty aggressive about getting my hips forward into the turn. What arcmeister said - "If you are in a situation where you really want, or need, to re-direct the skis in the top of the next turn (i.e. steep, narrow or bump zipper-lines) this wind-up of the legs will naturally un-wind upon release of the edges and quickly re-direct the skis back into the falline." is what I feel like I'm doing, but I might be overdoing it so that as I finish my turn my hips and upper body are pointed more than slightly down the hill. I always feel more "aggressive" if thats the right word and more able to push my body down the hill from this position I guess... while I can see how it'd be less stable, it feels more so. Ideas?
post #7 of 10
Here's a very informative discussion on upper and lower body coordination matched to ski angle. You need a high speed connection for this rather long video. This amateur video is from Jay Peterson.

The whole page:

Note: "Upsidedown skiing" is where the skis are put over on their new edges, actually the downhill edges, at the beginning of a turn before the fall line is reached. The body is below the skis until the fall line is reached, and everything works due to dynamic balance.

post #8 of 10

It feels good to keep your upper body facing downhill the way you do, because it pulls you into the direction change of the new turn very quickly.

The reason it does that is just as Arc said; once you release your edges at the end of a turn, the upper/lower body torque your counter has created tends to twist your skis so they point downhill before you engage their edges for the start of your new turn. It's called a pivot, and from what you've said I suspect that's what you're typically doing during the transition between your turns.

While it feels good to you, and makes your turns happen fast, you're also interjecting a lot of extra muscular activity into your skiing, that in many cases is not necessarily needed. If this counter and pivot turn entry is your primary (or only) means of transitioning from one turn to the next, I would suggest you need to expand your skill base and learn how to do turn transitions that include no change of direction of your skis before new turn edge engagement.

If you can do that easily already, and just pivot because that's what you like to do, then by all means, have at it brother.
post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 
I think you're getting at the basics that are going on. I just realized that my technique may be partially an adjustment to my equipment. I ski (one-ski quiver) on 186 Legend Pros - which have a turning radius in the high 30s - and in steep, tight areas I'm not usually confident that my 160lb body will exert enough pressure to cause them to come around. While I'm certainly not changing my skis (I'm utterly in love with the LPs) do you have any suggestions to effect a more clean carve in variable/bumpy snow on steeps without picking up excessive speeds (I usually ski fast... somewhere between 30-50 mph as long as it isn't moguled) that preclude control in tighter, more technical situations? This explanation (which may or may not be accurate) would also explain the situation on groomers - groomers are open and allow me to transition edge-to-edge at the top of the turn... leading to the mental image of showing my bases up the hill - and i'm not afraid of speed at all on groomers. Am I correctly interpretating the situation or am I a total goof?
post #10 of 10
Originally Posted by seldon
> I ski (one-ski quiver) on 186 Legend Pros - which have a turning radius in the high 30s

>do you have any suggestions to effect a more clean carve in variable/bumpy snow on steeps without picking up excessive speeds
Easy answer to that one............ No, I don't. You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear!

Wow, that's a big radius. Just for reference, 215 Downhill racing skis have a radius of 45m, and 210 SG race skis are 33m. On a high 30's ski your pure carved turn shape choices at recreational speeds are going to be pretty limited, so on steeps/bumps/narrows pivoting or steering is going to have to be high up on your usage list. Without it you'd be flying at Mach 10. Not advisable.

Your assessment of what's going on is right on target! The turn shape limitations of your equipment is dictating your transitions. When you get a chance, jump on a ski with a radius in the low teens. If you haven't rode a pair you'll be surprised on the expansion of terrain in which arc to arc carving becomes an option for you.

By the way, I'm impressed that on most groomers you find arc to arc carving on that ski un-intimidating. You obviously have developed some skills.
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