My goodness, Big E and Carv Lust. You guys are very tough and very literal.
As for your comments, Big E, correct. If a racer goes too round then it's a slower line. For me, this is a matter of degree. I'm speaking of an arc rather than a drift, or a pivot/skid (which is a change of aim rather than a turn). In this sense a comma and a C both have an arc, and therefore both have that quality that I'm gonna fearlessly call roundness, based loosely on the radius of a turn created by pressure against a side cut.
When you get on and off the arc to make your line faster is highly variable. Again,--and all I want to get across is this message--it's not the same in all situations.
By the way, Casey Puckett--not unknown for his skill at the World Cup level—coaches ability level kids here in Aspen to make more of a round turn in the fall line (with the feet further away from the gate) rather than a comma. Here is the rationale: The "flat" turn (or comma in your parlance) doesn't bend the ski as powerfully as a "deep" turn (or rounder version). Therefore the deep turn would have the effect of a more powerful energy return from the ski, bringing the skier back across the fall line quicker and in such a way that he or she could reduce edge angle and pressure in the finish and therefore have less friction and more speed. There are also lots of racers from Stemmle's era and earlier who are commentating, but have not skied what is perhaps a newer tactic developing out there. (I remember years ago, when the commentators got caught at this: Bob Beattie was saying that he needs to ski a flatter ski, while Ken Read was saying he needed to stay up on the edge. Neither of them blinked at their conflict.)
Now I'm not saying one version is right and the other is wrong, and I’m clearly more of an observer than an expert, but I am saying that this is arguable.
However, we can definitely agree that you are correct that the round turn that instructors and recreational skiers do is very different than that of racers. The former is designed to use the speed to go slower, while the latter is designed to use the speed to go faster.
And, CarvLust, I'm not concerned about my credibility, so please, don't you be. I've got kids! I have no credibility. And I'm certainly not concerned whether you're convinced or persuaded. It's up to you to decide if any, all, or none of my points have merit. But I do not feel that I'm on shaky ground here. Perhaps the ground I’m on is challenging, but these are normal issues in sports involving turns and centrifugal force and balance against a platform. However, I must not have expressed myself well, so I'll try to summarize.
· I believe that most recreational skiers will be just fine if they keep their shoulders level throughout the turn, so that they will be nicely balanced, both to apply edge, and to prepare for accidental or purposeful edge release. This is the KISS version that will take care of most people in most angulation situations.
· Yes, young racers tend to lean in way too much. I will define "too much" as when the axis of the torso tips in the same as or more than the general axis of the legs. Coaches absolutely have a responsibility to correct this. Unless kids (and rec skiers) learn to angulate well, they won't be able to make good choices later.
· In high performance skiing in more GS size turns, one often sees the plane of the shoulders, not level, but rather sloped, (sometimes more, sometimes less) towards the inside of the turn. When this is so much so that the inward lean of the torso is significantly more than the inward lean of the legs, it is inefficient and the skier is not well balanced.
· Some very good skiers angulate too much. I think it is rare that the plane of the shoulders needs to be parallel to the slope of the trail, like we taught in the old days. To do that diminishes the quality of loading that we can apply to the ski in the middle of the turn, because it misaligns the suspension system. One of the the things I will often correct in advanced students is the tendency to "throw" the angulation before they even get into the turn and know how much they will need.
· Most good skiers, whether they tip in more, less or none at initiation, level the shoulders from the fall line out.
· How much the axis of the torso can or should tip inward, and how to do that, relative to the inward tip of the legs, at the initiation is indeed a skill, because we're always running a fine line between pressure, timing, tip, and balance in every turn. And, it's not always the same for every turn. This is the art, the touch, the finesse. This is a skill that is not beyond the grasp of some of the very good skiers I've skied with, and it is really thrilling when they get the perfect alignment throughout their body from skis on up and the ski just zings for them.
· My own skiing improved significantly since I stopped overangulating the initiation (about ten years ago), and so has that of instructors and students I've worked with and observed. Now you may not think much of my skiing, and that's fair enough. There's a guy over there on realskiers who thinks I can hardly ski at all. But I believe, and coaches whom I trust tell me, that my skiing is better than it used to be.
· Lastly, the rationale of using the racer performance to help justify an idea is time-tested and true. It's enormously illustrative. It's good because racers have great fundamentals, and when they want to ski slowly with precision, they are the best in the world. The latest version of this by the way is the tendency to use this movement of letting the skis drift to the edge in the initiation to justify teaching other types of drifty movement patterns in addition to carving. I think it's excellent, because it gives me movements that approximate what I aspire to be, and it always demonstrates the versatility I'd like my students to have.
Is this long enough for anyone? Before you hop on this guys, do me the favor of reading it carefully. It took a long time to write it.