OK, maybe I should call it the ‘Keen Observer Gawking Stance’ - I find myself doing it more and more often as well. Oh, and I found my Nomex slippers so here goes…
I no longer believe in teaching a ‘Diagonal Movement’ to initiate a turn - I believe we should instead be teaching recreational skiers to move their upper body in an 'S' shaped ARC - out of the old turn, then along the ski, then into the new turn.
In my view many of the problems we see at turn-entry are actually symptoms of an earlier cause; A too-straight and too-lateral movement of the upper body across the skis during turn transition.
It is true that we need to change edges during transition and it’s also true that we need to move our upper body mass across the skis from inside the old turn to inside the new turn. But calling this move a ‘Diagonal Move’ implies that the skier should move their upper body in a “straight line” across the skis. I believe this is a terminology misdirection that creates a host of issues later in our turns that are then inappropriately addressed as ‘root issues’.
At advanced levels of skiing we see many skiers moving across the skis too quickly and having to twist their skis to an edge. Even skiers that don't need to twist may instead experience instability
during turn entry because of it. We address this with ‘Patience Turns’ and other devices that seem to help a bit, but the skill-change never seems to stick because the student isn’t really changing the movement - only its duration.
If a goal in Dynamic Parallel Skiing is ‘Moving with the Skis’ then shouldn’t our upper-body actually move with our skis
? My skis move in an ‘S’ pattern down the slope, so shouldn’t my upper body be doing the same? Shouldn’t my upper body be curving out of the old turn, moving straight along the skis for a moment, then curving into the new turn
just like my skis are doing?
The last few years I’ve been teaching students to move their upper body directly forward
along the ski for a brief moment (pulling the feet back works also) then ARCing their upper body into the new turn
. In teaching this I've seen rapid and dramatic improvement that sticks around.
How does this relate to MA on Dchan's video?
In Inside-Ski dominant turn entries we already have pressure on that ski and our upper body mass is ‘balanced’ over it. Chickens that we be, we tend to remain over that new Inside-Ski
rather than just diving into the new turn. This keeps pressure on, and over that ski as we’re hesitant to move too far inside too quickly. I suggest this is why Dchan experiences a continuous sense of stability and a sense of the ski pulling him into the turn - his upper body mass stays more ‘over’ that ski which then engages and pulls him down the hill.
In Outside-Ski dominant turn entries we generally find our weight/balance over the old Outside-Ski and need to somehow transfer it to the new Outside-Ski. We can deliberately collapse the old Outside-Leg, extend the old Inside-Leg, or just wait until the increasing turn-forces shift it to that Outside-Leg for us. This is where it gets interesting.
If I want my balance/weight to be over that new Outside-Ski very early in the turn AND I want to keep constant pressure on it (to keep my stability) how do I do it? What effect does a straight-line diagonal move do for (or against) me?
Thinking about where our weight/pressure/balance is at turn finish, it's generally over that old Outside-Ski. To now move my upper body mass diagonally
across my skis from its current relationship will actually move my upper body mass further away
from my new Outside-Ski. I’m left with either an extension move - or too little pressure on that ski to properly engage it. Until I get back over it (or it comes back under me) that ski simply isn’t working for me and I feel this as an unstable moment.
Moreover, a diagonal move takes my upper body down the hill at an angle much greater than my skis are currently traveling - I now have to twist them into that same direction or fall over. Even if my diagonal move is angled less severely away from the skis it’s still not moving with the skis
as it should be - and it feels slightly unstable until they re-align.
Personally, I think any kind of Straight-line diagonal move creates problems unless we’re making very short radius turns. Or maybe hop turns. Even in typical short radius turns (8’ diameter) I try to ‘Arc’ my body mass into each turn.
need to move our CM across the skis but only to compensate for the coming centripetal forces
- not to tip the skis. Were it not for the building centripetal force, we could just angulate to tip our skis while keeping our CM over our skis, much as we do on flat terrain at very slow speeds.
So with all this in mind I’ll just say that I like the majority of what dchan is doing in the video posted. The Outside-Ski exercise with a wide stance looks less stable than the other two but I think this would immediately change if he arced his upper body along his old Inside-Ski
for just a moment during transition, then
continued to arc into the turn.
That’s one of the neatest things about the ARCing idea: If I do arc my body out of the old turn, then along my skis - I get to decide in every turn which ski to bring my body directly over
If I’m doing Inside-Ski dominant turns, I can arc it over the old Outside-Ski during transition - keeping me balanced over & pressuring that ski into the new turn as it becomes my new Inside-Ski. If I’m doing Outside-Ski dominant turns, I can arc it to right over my old Inside-Ski during transition - leaving my balance & pressure over that ski as it becomes my new Outside-Ski.
And for two-footed turns, well… I get to experiment and find the best lateral placement for any given snow conditions, turn radius, pressure preference, given intent, etc. The three exercises dchan shows in the video are perfect for testing the Arcing idea should anyone choose to try it.
I know the idea of a ‘diagonal’ movement is near & dear to many. And I agree we need to get from point A to point B (which happens to be diagonally across the skis).
I just think we would be more successful if we describe the path our upper body takes in getting from A to B as an Arc, not just as a diagonal move that implies a straight line.
OK, so maybe that was 4¼¢.