Wow--holy smokes--good grief--etc! All this fuss over whether arc-shaped turns should be called "round" or not? Let me suggest that the only
people who should care in any discussion are the two doing the discussing, and then only to the end that they understand each other's meaning. With all respect, BigE (and don't get me wrong--I have lots!), what shape is your 5-year-old's face? I would assume that your objection to round women is somewhat less than your objection to round turns!
But you guys have sure validated one of my pet peaves--that of instructors insisting that "speed should be controlled by turn shape." Arc, arched, round, elliptical, sinusoidal, ovoid, S-shaped, C-shaped . . . Z-shaped, corner-shaped, . . . . Which of these gives the best speed control? Hmm?
(For what it's worth, the right answer is "octopus-shaped." Yes, I was probably as confused as you when I first heard this one, but after an explanation of what the instructor meant, it made the most sense of all. Use your imagination. I'll save the explanation for later.)
But I will say this: great skiers can ski pretty much any "shape" line they want, any time they want to.
It takes skill to do that, and skill means the ability to apply any
technique or movement solution needed to accomplish the intended result. Which leads me to my next point, and, I hope, back to the original line of the thread. I agree wholeheartedly with Weems: great skiers learn to angulate whenever they need to, as much as they need to, and only when they need to. And sometimes "banking" is better!
Angulation affects edge angle. At least in carved turns, edge angle affects "turn shape" (ugghh--I mean "radius of the arc" at any given point.) Should you or I--or a World Cup racer--angulate or "bank" (lean without angulating)? While some (carve_lust?--I hope I'm not misinterpreting you here) suggest that one technique is "right" and others are errors, I insist that we can only
measure the "rightness" of a movement by its outcome, its effect, compared to the intent of the skier.
So what is the effect of "angulation"? Regardless of where it occurs--ankles, knees (I hear you, RicB), hips, spine, neck, or all of the above--increasing angulation increases the edge angle of the ski on the snow. It is, therefore, the right thing to do whenever you need
to increase your edge angle. And the wrong thing otherwise. Are ya' with me?
When do you need more edge angle, then? We've discussed the effects of edge angle here at EpicSki a lot in the past, so here's just a quick summary. At least on hard snow--a race course, for example--higher edge angle contributes to the ski bending into a tighter-radius arc (assuming sufficient pressure accurately applied to bend it into this arc).[KISS timeout on] R
ecall that PhysicsMan has revealed the formula, for those interested: carving radius = sidecut radius X cosine of the edge angle on the snow. "Keeping it Simple," this means that a ski tipped 60 degrees to the snow surface "wants" to carve a turn half its sidecut radius. A slalom ski with a 12 meter sidecut, tipped 60 degrees to the snow, then, will bend into a 6 meter radius arc. [KISS timeout off]
So . . . if you're ripping through a turn pulling a couple g's, your inclination alone--with no angulation, aka "banked"--will tip your skis enough to carve a pretty tight turn. Skiing across a steep slope, just standing up straight
puts your skis at a high edge angle, of course. Add some inclination (leaning into the turn for balance) at the bottom of the turn, and your edge angle without angulating at all
could be higher than you want for your "turn shape" already. Throw in some angulation--keep your shoulders "parallel to the hill," for example--and it's pretty likely that your skis will "try" to carve a turn much
tighter than you're trying to make--and probably break away as a result, ironically straightening out your line! In this example, angulation is clearly an error!
Of all people, racers know this, intuitively and physically, if not cognitively. Modern skis are extremely sensitive and reactive to changes of edge angle, which again is the effect of changes in angulation.
Controlling edge angle is a much more refined skill these days than it ever was before. In the "straight" sidecut days, more edge angle was almost always more better, at least later in the turn. With enough edge angle (and pressure), even those old 50-60-meter-radius sidecut skis could be coaxed to bend into a useful arc. So skiers waited until the forces of the turn were sufficient--generally the second half of the turn, roughly--then slammed their shoulders downhill and their knees and hips uphill to create all the edge angle they could. "Banking," at least in the second half of the turn, was almost always an error, except at extraordinarily high speeds. Nowadays, it's not so simple.
To summarize, I think that we must look at angulation, like pretty much every other movement in skiing, as a skill, not as a technique that is inherently right or wrong. Skillful skiers learn to use it, well, skillfully! They angulate when they should or must, as the need arises.
Ultimately, I think Bonni said it the best--and the most simply: what we really need to do is develop and refine the skill of controlling the edge angle of the skis. When I'm skiing, I rarely think about whether I should angulate more or less, or what body parts I should focus my angulation efforts on. I am conscious instead of my edge angles, or at least of the sensations and effects of those angles, and I constantly adjust them as needed. I let my body figure out how to do it, blending and managing the complex interplay of inclination, angulation, balance, and slope angle, amidst constantly varying g-forces, wringing as much performance as I can from my skis to shape my turns precisely as I choose.
I really love the words of one of Keystone's top instructors, Peter Krainz: "my feet tell me what to do"
(even more convincing in his thick Austrian accent). Yes, I practice all these things--extreme angulation in every possible joint, pure banking, balance on one ski, the other ski, and both skis, shoulders "parallel to the hill," and so on. And I teach them, too. Not to create any particular exclusive "correct" technique, though, but to develop skill so that my body can answer the call from my feet--so that it can do what they tell them!
In closing, here are a few photographs of some of the world's top skiers, this season. All show considerable banking (leaning in of their shoulders). Before you jump all over me, carv_lust, let me say that I agree with you: just because you can find a picture of a World Cup racer doing something, does NOT make that thing "right." But it does suggest that, at the very least, it is not always wrong!
OK, perhaps this one goes a little too far!
Not racing here, but you get the idea that sometimes banking is plenty!
Bob Barnes, who is dismayed that Keystone is closed and that he has nothing better to do than "ski" on the Internet!