In this thread I promised that I would soon be posting some CM analysis and how it relates to ski track; meaning if you make certain assumptions about ski tracks and body position, how can those factors effect what your CM will likely do? Just so you do not have to keep referring back to the old thread I am going to post several of the more important images from the other thread (note that some have been modified to reflect proper terminology). It also might be a good idea to review this post that summed up what we were discussing that the previous thread.
In this new diagram (above) there are three turn style possibilities presented. The assumptions regarding upper body position is also discussed in each area as well as presented in a separate diagram and several accompanying pictures linked from Harb, LeMaster, and a few of my own pictures. The three assumptions are that the skier is using sufficient counter and variable track width, the skier is using little to no counter and constant track width (following the skis), or the skier is using constant track width and counter. All situations are assuming mid to high edge angles (makes a big difference).
Here is a small (poor) graphic of the three situations:
Variable Track Width with Counter (Left):
This scenario allows the CM to travel across the skis very quickly and moves instantly inside of the turn where it remains in balance with the outside ski until the turn completes. The points I wanted to note here were that the CM can move very far inside of the turn, and it spends little to no time “stuck” between the legs (think the opposite of bow-legged skiing) and actually requires no manipulation tin order to move from one turn to the next. I have included some images from the apex of a turn of this type and you can very easily see the huge vertical separation, horizontal separation, large amounts of counter, high edge angles, and the CM very far inside the turn. Combined with the virtue that were discussed in the other thread of this type separation management it creates a turn platform that can be used in slow speed, low edge angle turns, all the way up to the highest levels of racing where extreme angles such as the image below are commonplace.
Some Other Guy:
Constant Track Width with Little Counter (Middle):
This is what is commonly referred to as a stacked or banked turn. It involves skeletal alignment and following the skis while making the turn. I think that the images that I have provided show what this type of turn can cause in a turn but to be clear I will try to hit some of the bigger points. At low edge angles this type of turn works fine, but as the edge angle increases the skier requires a wider and wider transition stance. If you keep a narrow stance and try to use high edge angles you will quickly find yourself on the inside ski at the point in the turn where the angles are the highest (apex). More serious of a problem is the issue of the upper body not countering the turning forces which also causes the skiers weight to fall inside of the turn onto the inside ski. This can lead to all sorts of problems like inside tip lead, back seat skiing, or hip-checking. Often racers can get away with this kind of skiing in SG and DH because the speeds and forces are so great, but it is not the most effective model for typical recreational skiing. Also, if you notice (assuming high edge angles) the CM also spends a VERY long time between the skis/legs and requires a deliberate diagonal move into the next turn (possibly an up and over move?).
Some PSIA Folks (open parallel turns, taken from video from this site and the V1 site):
Say hello to the inside ski:
Constant Track Width with Counter (Right):
This one was more difficult to find a blatant picture of because at the apex of the turn sometimes it can be difficult to tell the difference between this and the diverging tracks example. The major difference comes in the width of the legs in transition. At high edge angles the skis need to be so wide that your CM ends up stuck between the skis, which causes the problem of always having your inside ski underneath you during the turn – so you CM rarely departs much from your inside ski. This makes it very easy to put weight on your inside ski and hip-check (as well as a whole bunch of other issues) and does not promote very dynamic skiing. At the beginning of last ski season I was a victim of this type of skiing and pushed for the entire season to get myself away from it.
Example From Video From Epic:
So what was the point of all of this?:
In case you didn’t pick up on it; I personally have a preference in the type of turn I default to. The reason I started these threads was to show that areas of focus that we might be looking at when we are developing our skiing are not always the correct ones. When I look at skiing (any skiing – racers, PSIA, PMTS, [insert 4 letter system]) you can often see that one thing might be being focused on that is tearing the person’s skiing apart. One example of this is the separation of the skis on the snow (the resultant from my diagram). In actuality the skier should be mindful of vertical separation and aim to keep their horizontal separation close to the same throughout the turn. Often you see skiers who have learned to ski via PMTS skiing with constant [narrow] horizontal separation but completely forget about and ignore vertical separation (what happens?). Often you see racers (myself included at one time) over-exaggerating the width of their stance horizontally because the edge angles that they are getting require a wide stance if they are going to keep mostly even tracks (what happens?). Open parallel turns can cause a skier to focus on following their skis and not using separation, which at when the speed, turning forces, and edge angles are turned up from the nice steady pace that they are skied at (what happens?).
If your answer to “what happens” in each situation above was related to balance you’re probably on the same (or at least similar) page with me. The focus of the skier’s skiing should be centered on balance… period. No questions asked – balance and how to obtain it should be the focus. I have more on this later, but I would like the discussion to develop from here before I bring any more information into the discussion. I would also like to discuss why things like artificial separation, artificial edge angles, forced track width, and lack of counter can cause a loss of balance when skiing.