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Why can't you control speed with turn shape unless...

...you have an octopus?

Quote:
 Originally Posted by Bob Barnes/Colorado ...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." ...
I give up:
With relation to "up the hill" and "down the hill", speed can be controlled by turn DIRECTION. An "ovoid" or "sinusoidal" or "elliptical" or "round" turn DOWN the hill will allow speed to increase, while the same shaped turn UP the hill will tend to slow speed - even to a stop.

Any single turn is, by definition, a change in direction. If it is a carved turn, then during its execution it will be at some point more uphill and at some point more downhill. During the more uphill portion of the turn, it will slow speed more, and during the more downhill portion of the turn, it will allow speed to increase more. That is why we teach the "patience turn" - in which the skier allows the turn to continue during the downhill phase until it reaches the uphill phase. It is during the faster part of the turn straight down the fall line when a skier may be tempted to end the turn to "STOP" the speed, rather then allow the turn to continue in order to control the speed.

I think when instructors speak of using "turn shape" to control speed, they envision turns down the fall line, where less pronounced turns will not control speed as well as would MORE pronounced turns. The more pronounced (or more nearly complete) the turn, the more "uphill turning" will occur and the more speed will be reduced. Thus, turn SHAPE can determine turn DIRECTION, and the turn DIRECTION controls speed.

Unless, of course, the skier turns in the shape of a giant squid, large mollusk, or kelp bed.

Bob
Not enough arms to be an octopus, Bob. Looks like you were referring to polyp shaped turns.

The giant squid shaped turns are most commonly used to "control" speed. The skier traverses the fall line in a near perpendicular direction, quickly skid-stems around and repeats the traverse portion of the turn in the other direction. :

Yeah, guess I did, but that's no octopus ...it's Casper!

Bob, I guess I was really looking for the distinction that makes octopus shaped acceptable and C shaped unacceptable ...if "speed should be controlled by turn shape." is not an acceptable premise!

We're not really talking about the path the skis take so much as that of the path of the core and the forces that act on it, right? Overlay ole Casper there on a half pipe and things change a little bit...

In any event, the answer is "one"!

Oboe, I always had the impression "patience turns" applied the patience at the top of the turn?

Chris
[quote=oboe]Looks like you were referring to polyp shaped turns.

sessile or pedunculated? :
Quote:
 Originally Posted by Bob Barnes/Colorado Bob
Bob - can you speak on which direction the shoulders should point in a run such as above ? During the uphill part of the turn, do they point -
a) where the skis are going
b) down the fall line
c) somewhere in between

If there is a video example, it would be better for me to see I think.
You're right, Chris, the answer is "one."

Remember, I did not coin the phrase "octopus turn," nor have I ever used it in a ski lesson--I just threw it out a bit tongue-in-cheek (keyboard-in-cheek?). I don't feel much need to defend it. And it does appear to contradict my adamant objection to the phrase "speed control from turn shape."

But I will suggest that it does a much better job of describing a "slow line" than most turn shape descriptions. As BigE has so adamantly and eloquently pointed out, all "round" turns have the same shape--that is, "round." But some round turns are very complete, and others barely deviate from the fall line. You can ski a fast line with round turns, or a slow line. So "round" itself has no relevence to speed control.

"C-shaped" may be slightly more descriptive, but "C's" come in different fonts, some being "slower" than others!

A female student of mine once suggested that "D-shaped" is actually the preferred shape for maximum speed control. (Use your imagination. Think lingerie.)

Ahem. . . . In any case, you are right that I object fundamentally to the expression "speed control from turn shape." Ultimately, it has nothing whatsoever to do with the shape of the turn. Your half-pipe analogy demonstrates that even going straight can be a slow line in some situations. It has only to do with the direction you're going in relation to the hill. Uphill slows you down. Downhill speeds you up. Unless you have your brakes on. Regardless of your "turn shape."

But there certainly are "slow lines" and "faster lines" down the hill. You know well my definition of good skiing: "good skiing involves skiing a slow enough line as fast as you can, when you can (and braking when you have to)"

As an image that describes a "slow line" (rather than just a turn shape), I don't think you can beat the octopus.

Best regards,
Bob
Quote:
 Bob - can you speak on which direction the shoulders should point in a run such as above ? During the uphill part of the turn, do they point - a) where the skis are going b) down the fall line c) somewhere in between
Such an elegantly simple question--multiple choice, even! Thanks, Nomad! I wish the answer were that simple.

Actually, it is is that simple. The answer is "c"--"somewhere in between." But I'm afraid that that answer leaves a lot of gray area, and may not help much.

Which direction would your car point if you drove it down a road that shape? Would it point the same direction as the front tires? No, not quite, would it? How far from the direction of the front tires would it point? Think about it--the tighter the curves, the more you'd have to turn the steering wheel, so the bigger the difference would be between the direction the wheels point and the direction the car points. If the curves are long and gentle, the car will point almost--but still not quite--the same direction as the wheels.

There are other reasons too why some degree of "counter" may develop in skiing, as well as some amount of "lead" (one ski ahead of the other) and "lead change." (Note that a car has a lead change too, despite the fact that the wheels do not move forward or back. When the wheels are turned to the right, the right wheel leads the left, and vice-versa.)

In any case, the old advice to "keep your shoulders facing down the fall line" is an extreme over-simplification of the idea that the skis should turn separately from the upper body. Don't pay much attention to it! It is roughly true in extreme short-radius turns, such as fall-line mogul skiing, where you aren't actually traveling far across the hill (much less up it). But in general, it is simply too "static" and exaggerated. Some instructors like to use it as a focus to help prevent skiers from rotating their upper bodies into the turn (the opposite of counter), but such exercises can be dangerous if misinterpreted or overused.

Recently, there's been a trend among many instructors to try to remain "square" to the skis--shoulders pointing the same direction as skis, with no tip lead. This thought, too, can stifle your progress, even though it may be a useful focus for some skiers who tend to get "too countered."

It's important to have an accurate image in your mind of how the body and its various parts move in good ski turns. The wrong image can truly hinder your progress, and if you don't give yourself permission to move the way you should (like those who try to eliminate all tip lead, for example), you prevent the very movements you need!

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
Quote:
 Originally Posted by Bob Barnes/Colorado Bob

jigsaw puzzle pieces!

octopus has 8 arms!

a few thousand words!

Not exactly video, and not the "full octopus," but here are a few images and animations that may help. All show the "slight counter" I described in my post above.

Images showing skier alignment in turns:

Competitors in the Keystone NORAM GS, November 2005:

Laure Pequegnot of France winning the World Cup Slalom at Copper Mountain, 2001

Me, demonstrating complete "Basic Parallel Turns" a couple seasons ago:

Finally, here's a little animation showing skiers turning for speed control ("braking," "the fast line slow," in yellow) and for directional control ("slow line fast," in red).

Quote:
 octopus has 8 arms!
Are you suggesting that this one doesn't, Dis? How can you tell, from this head-and-shoulders portrait?

Best regards,
Bob
Wow! Glad to see you're back Bob. Try not to wear out the keyboard though!
thoughts on turn shape

When I observe skiers from the chairlift I always see a very large percentage of intermediate skiers making "turns" that have a lot of sideways skid and not much forward, curving (curving, not carving) travel. This is how most people ski. They make skidded arcs, with more skid than arc. They get most of their speed control from the skid, which effectively acts as a brake. Interestingly enough, their "turn shape" is quite close to the fall line; they really do ski "down" the hill. Then I'll see an instructor making very round, pretty turns, with lots of curved travel and tons of speed control. In CSIA land, where I live, we are starting to recognize that the general public really doesn't seem to aspire to those pretty, "round" instructor turns and we have begun to adapt to this reality. Mainly, we try to promote more fall line skiing early in the game, and show less of those overly finished "instructor" turns in our own skiing. Of course a good skier needs the option of really rounding out a turn where necessary. It's just that we are starting to get away from the idea that those kind of turns ought to be the norm. The public obviously thinks otherwise. IMHO, I think it's a step forward.
Esophogeal Alveoli-shaped?

That'd really spin a student out!
Bob,

I love the octopus/squid/ghost whatever. I've used this approach skateboarding down steep hills where the width of your track is limited to the width of the street.

Sometimes when I'm carving a turn back uphill and turning in to a countered position, I start to freak when I realize I'm not looking where I'm going. It pisses me off because I realize that for safety I need to be looking uphill, but for form I should be making smooth continuous countering movements. Ideally it ought to be possible to sneak peaks by turning just your head, but I haven't been successful at that because by that time all that thinking has totally messed me up whatever smooth flow I might have had.

What the heck are you supposed to do?
Quote:
 Originally Posted by cdnguy IMHO, I think it's a step forward.
Sounds like a step backwards to me. How effective are those skidded falline turns in non-groomed conditions?
Quote:
 Originally Posted by cdnguy thoughts on turn shape When I observe skiers from the chairlift I always see a very large percentage of intermediate skiers making "turns" that have a lot of sideways skid and not much forward, curving (curving, not carving) travel. This is how most people ski. They make skidded arcs, with more skid than arc. They get most of their speed control from the skid, which effectively acts as a brake. Interestingly enough, their "turn shape" is quite close to the fall line; they really do ski "down" the hill. Then I'll see an instructor making very round, pretty turns, with lots of curved travel and tons of speed control. In CSIA land, where I live, we are starting to recognize that the general public really doesn't seem to aspire to those pretty, "round" instructor turns and we have begun to adapt to this reality. Mainly, we try to promote more fall line skiing early in the game, and show less of those overly finished "instructor" turns in our own skiing. Of course a good skier needs the option of really rounding out a turn where necessary. It's just that we are starting to get away from the idea that those kind of turns ought to be the norm. The public obviously thinks otherwise. IMHO, I think it's a step forward.
That's the first I've heard of that. Seems identical to suggesting that since the public doesn't seem to aspire to flexion and extension, we're promoting less movement too. How does it differ?

Can you say why that is a step forwards? I'd only be guessing.
Bob, would you prefer the phrase "turn shape" be given the boot? (When quotation marks are used, I get a sense of emotional separation--i.e., I only use "the phrase" because some early ignoramus did.)
I do use the idea of turns being used to control speed with kids. However, I am careful to lead them (the students/kids) through the idea that controlling speed applies to slowing down, stopping, and, also, speeding up. That is, to slow down/stop, we continue the turn more uphill; to speed up, we use less of an uphill component. [Question for Bob: does this seem like a sound way to teach skiing the slow line fast for young (pre-teen) learners?]

Really, what I teach is that are only 2 reasons to turn: 1. to go where we want to go, and, 2. for speed control (using the above definition).
Quote:
 Originally Posted by therusty Bob, I love the octopus/squid/ghost whatever. I've used this approach skateboarding down steep hills where the width of your track is limited to the width of the street. Sometimes when I'm carving a turn back uphill and turning in to a countered position, I start to freak when I realize I'm not looking where I'm going. It pisses me off because I realize that for safety I need to be looking uphill, but for form I should be making smooth continuous countering movements. Ideally it ought to be possible to sneak peaks by turning just your head, but I haven't been successful at that because by that time all that thinking has totally messed me up whatever smooth flow I might have had. What the heck are you supposed to do?
It's like swimming. Just a peek over the shoulder for a breath of air. I started countering earlier and more.:

turn shape

Quote:
 Originally Posted by epic Sounds like a step backwards to me. How effective are those skidded falline turns in non-groomed conditions?
I think the idea is to recognize that instructors have unintentionally developed a turn shape which takes the CM further from the fall line than is often required. This is done for the best of intentions when teaching. The problem comes when the instructors themselves adopt that way of skiing all the time, and progress students to steeper terrain without getting the students to ski faster on shallow slopes by staying closer to the fall line. We call this the principle of "maximum speed on minimum terrain." I think that the CSIA is trying to get instructors to pay more attention to this concept.

You are quite right that these overly skidded falline turns would not be very
effective in ungroomed conditions. They are not all that effective on groomed hills either! I'm certainly not meaning to suggest that this way of skiing is what we are trying to teach. I think that what is being recognized is that the public skier seems to spontaneously stick closer to the fall line and that this is perhaps a strength that we may not have recognized before.This past winter I trained quite a bit with a senior CSIA examiner and he was continually pointing out how the public skiers, if nothing else, certainly knew how to ski "down the hill"! This examiner clearly felt that instructors had a tendency to respond to the public by teaching a much wider turn shape than was nesessary and then leaving the student with that turn shape model(which they immediately ignore)! I also heard this concern from some other Level 4's.

So it is the closer-to the-fall-line characteristic that is being recognized more positively in the public skier. The excessive skidding that we observe is, of course, not what we would be teaching or promoting.

Hope I've managed to add a little clarity to my earlier post.

cdnguy
cdnguy,

We're not forcing folks to ski with round turns, but we're not promoting the "figure 11" either. What we are promoting is tons of movement, regardless of how shallow or complete the student's turns may be.

Over-terraining is never good, and from what it sounds like is that there has been a tendency to take folks that can make nice slow round turns on greens and bring them to blues to teach them just to "do it all faster".

Which more often than not fails, because they are not used to the added speed or accelleration. It will entrench their first fearful movements -- that of leaning back.

What I'd prefer to see is a closed trail, for instruction purposes only, that contains a set of stubbies laid out in various configurations. The challenge of mobility at speed on the green should replace the challenge of surviving a steep run.

Failing that, the stubbies can be groomed right into the hill as a series of bumps that are very far apart, allowing for multiple paths. Like a mogul field that has very few bumps that are all very wide apart.

Such a trail will do more for instruction than anything else -- you get the opportunity to go over the odd bump and not have to deal with the one right behind it. Great for movement. You can jump off the small ones. You can "slalom" through the field at speed. You can even colour the bumps red and blue! It'd be great for the kids, and alot of fun for the adults.

Turn shape is forced to some extent by these small bumps. Turns can then be taught as something other than style. And instructors won't look like golf carts.

The Rohrschach line!

Wow--I didn't realize that this would turn into that famous ink blot test! Octopus...friendly ghost...squid..polyp...puzzle pieces...alveoli...what do you see here?

(Can anyone tell how many legs this guy has?)

:

Quote:
 Of course a good skier needs the option of really rounding out a turn where necessary. It's just that we are starting to get away from the idea that those kind of turns ought to be the norm. The public obviously thinks otherwise. IMHO, I think it's a step forward.
Well, that's one I sure don't see! CDNGuy, I've got to think you're speaking for yourself here. I've not heard that from any other Canadian instructors (and I know a lot of 'em), nor do I see the trend you see in the public. If anything, I see a trend toward the more pure-carved turn--which is often equally out of control!

Several years ago, it occured to me that the new skis had produced a whole new kind of out-of-control intermediate skier. It used to be that the dangerous intermediates were the ones who had become comfortable with a fair amount of speed, but they could never get an edge engaged to control their direction. Now we have those who have learned to just tip their deep-sidecut skis up and ride 'em in a pure edge-locked carve. It takes little skill or experience to do this, and today's skis are very stable at speed as long as they're on that pure edge. But those turns don't control speed, and they don't really control direction very well either. Edge-locked skiers have about as much directional control as a runaway freight train on a curving track--and the same amount of speed control too!

Quote:
 Really, what I teach is that are only 2 reasons to turn: 1. to go where we want to go, and, 2. for speed control
I'd add a third reason to your list, Lenny. I think that there are three reasons why I (and all of us) turn, three intents that dictate three fundamentally different techniques. When I can, I turn for fun. When I have to, I turn to control something--either speed (which I call braking), or direction.

When someone is turning just for fun, there is no right or wrong! If it's fun (for you), who am I, or any other instructor, to say you're doing it "wrong"? Personally, I love the g-forces of pure-carved turns at high speed. To me, that's fun, and when the slope is wide open and smooth and uncrowded, it's what you'll often find me doing. I know I'm not alone!

But if I'm in the middle of that pure, clean carve, and suddenly something gets in my way, my priorities and needs change quickly! Now I have to either stop before I hit the thing, or change my line to go where it isn't. And my technique will change accordingly. Obviously, "stop going this way" is a very different intent than "go that way." What could be more opposite, in fact, than "stop" vs. "go"? Intent dictates technique, and the movements of braking are the complete opposite of the movements of "going where you want to go."

I call it the "spectrum of intent." Three reasons why we turn, covering the continuum from pure carving to pure braking, with precisely and intentionally shaped turns--pure control of line--right in the middle.

Great skiing involves all these options, as needed, as desired, and just for fun. Great instructors can teach in any point on the continuum, depending on the motivations and needs of the student. They can tie the spectrum of intents to the spectrum of techniques to match the right movements to any specific tactic, task, and motivation.

Intent Dictates Technique. Match your movements to the moment!

Well, the sun should have softened things up a bit up at Arapahoe Basin by now. I'm going skiing. To those whose season has ended, sorry to rub it in!

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
Quote:
 Originally Posted by Bob Barnes/Colorado (Can anyone tell how many legs this guy has?):
One
Quote:
 Originally Posted by Bob Barnes/Colorado Well, the sun should have softened things up a bit up at Arapahoe Basin by now. I'm going skiing. To those whose season has ended, sorry to rub it in!
The Expert Skier is sad to see the lifts shut down at the end of the season.

The Real Skier (TM) is not aware that skiing was restricted to any particular season, only that sometimes the lifts run, and sometimes they don't.

And, I also have to say I ain't done heard nothin' 'bout more skiddin' down the fall line in Canada, eh? Although, for what it's worth, skidded fall-line turns can be very useful in bumps, which most people might consider "ungroomed."

Go play!
Quote:
 Originally Posted by cdnguy thoughts on turn shape When I observe skiers from the chairlift I always see a very large percentage of intermediate skiers making "turns" that have a lot of sideways skid and not much forward, curving (curving, not carving) travel. This is how most people ski. They make skidded arcs, with more skid than arc. They get most of their speed control from the skid, which effectively acts as a brake. Interestingly enough, their "turn shape" is quite close to the fall line; they really do ski "down" the hill. Then I'll see an instructor making very round, pretty turns, with lots of curved travel and tons of speed control. In CSIA land, where I live, we are starting to recognize that the general public really doesn't seem to aspire to those pretty, "round" instructor turns and we have begun to adapt to this reality. Mainly, we try to promote more fall line skiing early in the game, and show less of those overly finished "instructor" turns in our own skiing. Of course a good skier needs the option of really rounding out a turn where necessary. It's just that we are starting to get away from the idea that those kind of turns ought to be the norm. The public obviously thinks otherwise. IMHO, I think it's a step forward.
cdnguy: I do think you are right on the public not aspiring to ski the pretty rounded arcs. If the public thinks that skidding down the hill with out really using the edges as have been designed into modern equipment than they have wasted hundreds of dollars on modern gear. They might as well get back on 205cm straights for the way they are skiing now is not much different when they were on the them. I think the skiing public has been sold on buying new gear but a great majority of them will never get the benefit out of shaped skis.
1) They won't take a few lessons to get some of the skills needed to really engage and work the edges. 2) They won't put in the effort and time to practice things that will help them maximize their equipment investment. 3) They rush right back to the blue and black terrain with the same old lousy skills and expect the "new" gear to be like magic and transform their skiing. The intermediate skier is going to stay that way, feet locked together, hips swiveling down the hill, feet pivoting all over the place making long skiddy "S" truns and apparently they are happy for this, but what I have found when people have come in for lessons is they say "I want to feel more control in my skiing" . I equate control in skiing in having the skills to use the gear they are on to its maximum potential, engage edges to get shape to the turns, use steering as necessary, look for a good line to ski and so on. So I am going to try and show people how to play with the modern gear, that tends to lead to a rounder turn shape and using the edges and shape of ski more than twist and skid.
I like BigE's idea of a green level slalom course for instructional purposes. It would get beginners used to the idea of turning to control direction instead of to slam on the brakes.

It seems the natural desire of new skiers to spend as much time as possible with their skis across the fall-line in a state of static balance is the biggest obstacle to learning. It's what keeps them slamming on the brakes, what keeps them in the back seat, and what inhibits the unbalancing movements required to release their edges.

The way skiers are taught (and I mean this universally - not just in the US, or just by PSIA instructors or anything) seems to start with that desire for stationary stability and gently increase the amount of dangerous, unbalanced sliding around between safe points of stasis, until (we hope) stasis is abandoned. But the trouble is that, beyond a certain point, the insinct to seek safety by returning to a static position and the movements required to do that, become the biggest obstacle in the way of an individual's improving his skiing. This is the intermediate rut. Most skiers get there pretty quickly. Most never leave.

I'm wondering whether there might be an alternative path, that starts with straightlining a gentle green slope with a safety net at the bottom, to develop balance and get people out of the back seat, and then proceeds to develop directional control by putting the skis on edge and increasingly difficult slalom-type courses. At some point in that process students will figure out how to stop, should they need to, but they might not have the compulsive need to slow down that keeps most intermediates in their rut.
Quote:
 Originally Posted by Snowbowler They might as well get back on 205cm straights for the way they are skiing now is not much different when they were on the them.
Hah! They get loads of benefit from the new equipment. Skis that are 30cm shorter are a hell of a lot easier to swing round and use as brakes. Plus you can wedge them more easily without the tips crossing

Quote:
 Originally Posted by Snowbowler The intermediate skier is going to stay that way, feet locked together, hips swiveling down the hill, feet pivoting all over the place making long skiddy "S" truns and apparently they are happy for this
If the intermediate skier was doing that, the state of skiing would be a lot happier than it is. Those almost sound like wedeln turns. Full-body-swivelling Z-turns with legs and feet flailing all over the place is more like it.
We need more green trails that snake all around forcing people to turn to go down the hill.
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