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Rounds Turns: fact or fiction?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
In the spirit of keeping with KISS, I'm starting a new thread on round turns: fact or fiction?

Originally Posted by BigE
If you want to tell folks to make arcs, say that.

When I tell kids to make round turns they make 1/2 circles. If they make arcs, I say, 'Sorry, I meant FULL turns -- like this." And I then demo a round turn that looks like 1/2 a circle. They get it.

They also get the round is slow and has lots of speed control.

I hope that you are not suggesting the skiers that made those tracks were told to make round turns.
I believe this is only telling half the story. Turning is about speed control (plus direction control); there is a slow component to turning, there is also a fast component.

Sounds like you must only teach brainy geeks. I haven't had many kids as students (especially the 4 - 6 year olds) who would understand "arcs." Most know what a circle looks like.

[Note: I teach 98% kids, with most of my lessons being levels 3 & 4 - levels at which speed control becomes important - for me, that means that I taught in excess of 200 children this year of those levels alone.]

And, if you only teach kids how to slow down, you're doing them a disservice. Turning means slowing down, speeding up, keeping a constant speed, and going where you want to go.
post #2 of 15
I'd like to participate here, but I'm not sure what you are getting at?
post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 
What I'm getting at is that rather than discuss round turns in the KISS Angulation thread, let's move it here. My purpose was to start with a provocative statement, hoping to draw the light (and hopefully, the heat) from that thread.
post #4 of 15
Can any turn be absolutely round. I don't think so. We need to think of a carved turn in which the radius changes progressively and smoothly. Then the amount of radius and how long it is maintained will influence turn shape and ultimately speed.

This gets back to TID; Timing, Intensity, and Duration.
post #5 of 15
Some people fancy themselves as being able to make a turn that is a complete circle. I've done it once. Was it perfectly round to within 1/1000 of an inch? Probably not. Was it round enough for government's sake? Probably so. Based on that, I'd say it's possible to make a round turn.
post #6 of 15
My whole involvement in the round/arc issue was one of defining terms. When weems said that rec skiers look to WC racers and see round turns, the red lights went on.

Round to me has a distinct meaning. It is not a comma, it is not an arc, a J or any other shape.

Turns may be "rounded". One can talk about "rounding off" their turns, but only "round" is "round". As an instructor, I would give my students cause to wonder about what I'm talking about if I began spouting nebulous definitions, or making perfectly good words imprecise/twisted.

Making skiing hard to understand is not the goal. Giving casual skiers a multitude of options to choose from is not the goal. Clear, precise and meaningful instruction is the goal.

What happens when people are told to "make a round turn"? What do I want them to try to do? I'd like them to try to leave a track in the snow that looks like a 1/2 circle. Hopefully they will try.

Why? Because I'm trying to spread their turning effort equally over the entire turn. It is usually the case that I implore people to make round turns, because they are making 'Z' styled turns, or 'J' turns, or they have over-pivotted initiations. I don't think "make a rounder turn" helps the 'Z' turner, or the over-initiator because there is nothing really round about those turns in the first place.

I can imagine no simpler or clearer instruction than to ask them to "make a round turn."
post #7 of 15
Originally Posted by BigE
I can imagine no simpler or clearer instruction than to ask them to "make a round turn."
That's fine, and I agree. But where is it practical, and do they actucally achieve it (based on your definition)?

post #8 of 15
No. But they understand their goal and they start to make the right moves; which is my goal.
post #9 of 15
Originally Posted by BigE
No. But they understand their goal and they start to make the right moves; which is my goal.
Then what's the difference if we call "arcs" "round" if the students understand the goal and make the right moves?

post #10 of 15
As a former Z-turner (is there some kind of support group?) the advice to make round (or rounder, rounded, C-shaped, S-shaped or whatever turns) was always utterly useless to me because I had no idea how to.

The probem is that making an S shaped series of turns in more-or-less what seperates skiers in the intermediate rut from those who have progressed out of it. It involves a whole set of skills, any one of which the Z-turner may have trouble with:

1. Fear of the fall line, which can only be overcome once the skier trusts his skis to turn, which is mostly a psychological issue.
2. Inability to release his edges, due to knock-kneedness or simply never having been taught to do it.
3. Lack of cross-over, so each turn ends in a traverse with speed that still needs to be scrubbed off and it's hard to initiate the next turn.
4. A preconception that good skiing means going slowly, where they associate that with traversing.
5. A for-aft alignment problem meaning they have trouble keeping control through the initiation and control phases of the turn.

And those are only the problems I personally suffered from. Only once I worked through each of those individual problems did I understand how to make S-shaped, linked parallel turns, but that's a result. I don't see how simply instructing someone to produce that result can cause them to understand how to do it. It's like the old "how to cure a stem" question - why is the skier stemming to begin with?
post #11 of 15

Friggin' Squares

I got a tip one time that made no sense to hear, but really made sense once I did it, and that was to make "Square" turns. The goal was to slow down the desire to leave the fall line in such a hurry, and eliminate the "Z" shaped turn. Seemed counter-intuitive, but it really worked out as a neat exercise for people who simply hadn't ever spent any time ging down the hill... only going across.

Give it a try sometime. When initiating your turn, seek the fall line right away and stay in it for a 1-count. Then re-direct the skis back out of the "line of gravity" and head across it. Place the picture of 90-degree "Tron" turns in your head. When you turn around to check out your tracks, they will look pretty round. (If you haven't seen "Tron", I'm sorry, I can't help you... Just kidding. The turns would feel like this.)

(I don't know if that helps or not!)

It's weird. But then so am I. Seriously.
post #12 of 15
This does help, Spag. The point is to use the term that evokes what you need. If round doesn't work for Big E or his kids, I'd never use it. You know in the interaction what works, and language is not as precise as we would wish it to be. I understand Big E's definition, so using "round" for him is out of the question. He has a literal, scientific picture of this that he insists on. That's fine. Others don't. My job is to find the language that works.
post #13 of 15

If the student has equated round with arc, I'll fill them in on the difference.

Yes, there is a certain quality of "roundness" to all turns, but only "round" is truly "round". Just like a square is a specific sort of rectangle, a round turn is a particular type of arc.

When someone says "make your turns rounder", I take that to mean make them closer to semi-circular. Other folks say that and mean make them less square. If I wanted them less square, I'd say "make your turns more rounded".

You might think that's really nitpicky but that is truly how I think. There is no need to overload the term round. There are enough words available to be precise.
post #14 of 15
From what I've seen Z turners tend to want to get out of the fall line quickly. It might be fear of gaining too much speed. This is a normal fear with some skiiers.

First remember, before you take something away, you need to give something to use. We want to take away the Z so we need to give them something first. What I give is edging and confidence that the edges work.

Here's some ideas I use. First people need to get comfortable approaching the fall line and using their edges. A garland/fan progression works well for this.

- Pick appropriate terrain. Mild blue is good. Sometimes darker green.
- Allow your skis to drop towards the fall line while moving forward.
- Then as your speed picks up turn back up the hill. (Do not turn down the hill) A nice easy turn without jamming the skis.
- On the next iteration allow the skis to point further down the hill.
- Again, turn smoothly up the hill.
- The last iteration the skis point down the fall line.
- Again turn smoothly up the hill with out crossing the fall line.

Repeat for the opposite direction.

What you are doing is giving the student confidence that they can control speed and turn shape without jamming the skis.

Next, allow the skis to drop smoothly into the fall line and smoothly pull out completing the turn. Do this both ways with a full stop at the end of the turn.

Finally, start linking smooth easy turns.

Spag's 1 count is good. I also have students count to a higher number, say 3 or 4.
post #15 of 15
I would think that a more common problem would be people who make either J-shaped, or Z-shaped turns. I'm not sure I've ever even seen Square turns on accident (I guess there would be a first time for everything, I just haven't been that "lucky"). And you're right E, there are enough terms out there to be specific. It's important that we use them.

I also think that calling a round turn square to help students via their mental imagery can work quite well, also. It would be a mistake to use only "make more rounded turns" in every situation, just as it would be to say "ski a square".

If describing a turn as a half-circle works for you, as it does for many people... then by all means, do it. But it's a very simple concept infested with tons of pitfalls, just like every other description of skiing.

1. Is the student capable of turning/tipping the skis in a progressive manner?
2. Does the student feel safe when going down the fall line?
3. What type of learner is this person?
4. Does my demo portray my talk?
5. What is my student's definition of "round", "arc", "carve", etc.?

Sometimes it's a simple matter of saying "do this!" Sometimes it's not. Efforts in instruction can sometimes be a real pain in the butt that way.

Hope you guys are getting some good Spring turns in. Make some for me.

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