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Catching an edge

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
Hi all. I want to understand all things skiing.

Yesterday my wife made a statement about liking to go fast, but her main concern would be catching an edge and losing control. I've done it you've done it, we all have done it.

So what I'd like to know what causes it. What ski factors, what skier factors and what snow factors contribute to edge catching.

What can be done to reduce the risk/occurance.

Personally, I notice a big reduction in catching edges when I switched from a K2 Escape 5500 in a 160 to a Metron 9 in a 157.
post #2 of 25
i will usually catch an edge when i get lazy in my transitions, not unweighting/releasing; then again, i tend to ride that inside ski more than i should anyway.

and since i know the skis i'm on and have a pretty good sense of the snow i'm in, it's on me, the skier, rather than the gear or the snow, though i suppose one could cite "uneven" terrain as more likely to contribute to an edge being caught.

i'm certainly MUCH more active in heavy spring snow, where laziness combined with an edge buried in butter can have unpleasant repercussions. my left MCL can testify to that.
post #3 of 25
Contributing Ski factors: low base bevel (eg. 0.5 deg), large hourglass shape, Skis that don't like to ski flat.

Boot factors: Boots that don't hold the skis flat to the snow, especially if outside edges are lower.

Skier factors: Failure to transfer weight with sufficient speed to the new outside ski.

Snow factors: catching divergent ruts, piles of snow can act similar to catching a small bush/tree with only one ski, though none of these things is what I consider "catching an edge". To me, that happens on harder snow, and is almost always weight transfer error.
post #4 of 25
Another factor can be canting. If you aren't flat when standing neutral, it can lead to you catching edges in some conditions while performing certain moves. When my skiing skills advanced I found a time when I was catching edges. I got my stance aligned properly and the incidence of edge catching went down.
post #5 of 25
I've never understood the term "catching an edge" except in the context of a skidding ski where the outside edge gets grabbed by the snow because of insufficient employment of the inside edge. Of course there has to be insufficient employment of the inside edge in this scenerio because otherwise there would not be enough skid to cause an edge catching. Is there some other type of caught edge? I frequently hear folks speaking of catching an edge when actually they just lost balance somehow.
post #6 of 25
I've "caught" a little toe edge when I've over-edged the inside ski somehow. It rails up and leaves me with my center of balance too far inside. This causes me to fall to the inside of the turn. Normally happens at slow speed on easy terrain. Splat! Duh!
post #7 of 25
On the old straight skis most skiers skied very much on the inside edge of the outside ski. Catching an edge was whenever you started to get some involvement of the outside edge of the inside ski and since few skiers were comfortable with that edge it was very disruptive. Nowadays the new technique is much more two footed and most good skiers are quite good at using that edge and thus it doesn't feel unbalanced. Watch a hockey player doing crossovers and you'll see what I mean. I rarely catch an outside edge because I'm usually already using it. Hope this makes sense.
post #8 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kneale Brownson View Post
I've never understood the term "catching an edge" except in the context of a skidding ski where the outside edge gets grabbed by the snow because of insufficient employment of the inside edge. Of course there has to be insufficient employment of the inside edge in this scenerio because otherwise there would not be enough skid to cause an edge catching. Is there some other type of caught edge? I frequently hear folks speaking of catching an edge when actually they just lost balance somehow.
Well this is what I experience. My most common: I'm just skiing along, doing gentle S turns at moderate speeds and all of a sudden one ski gets jerked (or jerks) outward. As far as I can tell I didn't hit a tree tip or any non snow object. Rarely does it occur at low speeds doing tight turns on a steep pitch. And like I said in the OP since I changed skis catching edges is like one tenth or less than before.

I did have one notable exception due to a very bad tuning.

http://forums.epicski.com/showpost.p...00&postcount=1


http://forums.epicski.com/showpost.p...1&postcount=10
post #9 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kneale Brownson View Post
I've never understood the term "catching an edge"
agree…and for me why “catching” would carry a negative connotation in the first place? Most people can't "catch a break" let alone catch a clean carve
post #10 of 25
Improperly balanced over an engaged edge. Got to love those uphill inside edge rides. Hip check please.:
post #11 of 25
I have always understood catching an edge to mean the skier is not steering the skis equally. One ski is converging on the other or the skis are tracking apart. Either way on ski is going to do something odd which feel like catching and edge.
post #12 of 25
SNPete,

Straight skis were more prone to skidding at the end of the turn than shaped skis, so getting the outside edge caught in the snow was much easier. Shaped skis hold their edge better so the skier can inclinate more than on straight skis. The result is a higher edge angle and less likley to get the outside edge "caught". One situation that can happen is while doing a braquage manouver (usually at slower speeds), if the edges are changed before the pivot, the outside edge can get caught.

Shaped skis do offer a very different problem for skiers at high speeds though. The side cut of the skis make them wiggle or wonder a little from side to side when they are gliding flat on the snow. That can cause one or both of the skis to start to track on the edge either toward the other ski or away from the skier as they are gliding streight. This can be disarsterous while moving fast. Most skiers perfer to ride like edges at a low angle, arcing a shallow turn rather than riding them straight.

RW
post #13 of 25
One of the things that strikes me in you narration is that it happens when you are skiing along on easy terrain.

This is the most likley time that you will catch an edge. Part of the problem is that you may have stopped skiing, and had a mental time out of coffee break. Slow speeds will and can lull you into a complacent state of mind.

You never stop flying the plane till it's tied down on the ramp.

You never stop skiing till they are locked and on the rack.

.... and I agree with Kneale, aside from off balance issues many "catches" are on a skidding ski or a ski deflected by ruts on a track.
post #14 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yuki View Post
This is the most likley time that you will catch an edge. Part of the problem is that you may have stopped skiing, and had a mental time out of coffee break. Slow speeds will and can lull you into a complacent state of mind.
I agree completely. I'm only an intermediate, but when I read this post, the first thing that came to mind was "I catch an edge when I stop concentrating". I have found as I have progressed, however that falls are no longer a fore-gone conclusion when I catch an edge. Better balance and experience now at least gives me a 50/50 chance of recovery without a spill.

Clay
post #15 of 25
I'm an EXPERT at falling and getting back up.
post #16 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron White View Post
SNPete,


Shaped skis do offer a very different problem for skiers at high speeds though. The side cut of the skis make them wiggle or wonder a little from side to side when they are gliding flat on the snow. That can cause one or both of the skis to start to track on the edge either toward the other ski or away from the skier as they are gliding streight. This can be disarsterous while moving fast. Most skiers perfer to ride like edges at a low angle, arcing a shallow turn rather than riding them straight.

RW
I've noticed that wandering when going straight and flat. So it's not 100% me. I will try what you suggest. Thanks.
post #17 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by SNPete View Post
I've noticed that wandering when going straight and flat.
That was why I didn't like shaped skis the first time I tried them. Once someone told me they were supposed to do that, just deal with it (as recommended above), I learned to appreciate them.

The one problem I have had is traverses. Last year I was demoing a pair of skis with more sidecut than my usual. I was on a connecting traverse through the woods, worrying about low hanging branches and whether there was traffic around the corner, keeping up with but not overtaking the group, etc etc, when my uphill ski took off on its own. The first time it happened I was able to slam it back down onto the track; the second time (the next run) I fell. I had no problem actually skiing on those skis, just traversing.
post #18 of 25
Catching an edge in my vernacular happens when one ski or another somehow rotates in such a way that the snow stops it unexpectedly. So, for example, if I'm skiing like this:



and were to apply too much rotary to the right to either of those skis, I'd catch an edge. Not that I've (cough...cough) ever done such a thing. Ha!

Sometimes when arcing like this I'll get anxious to really move into the turn so I'll apply a bit of steering. If I apply it at the wrong place in the turn and/or in the wrong direction and/or too great an intensity, watch out!

Of course, this can also happen when running "flat". The skis wander a bit as they're slippery when flat, and holding them perfectly flat is virtually impossible. So, they rotate about the feet and if they are tipped slightly towards that edge, it will dig into the snow. If the rotary is sufficient, we'll catch the edge and go down.

Of course, this from a guy who caught an outside edge while skating across the snow-covered lawn in front of the Edge last Tuesday, managing to fall down right in front of the locker room. Yeah. I'm a "professional!" What a gaper!
post #19 of 25
Back in the day, "catching an edge" meant you were sliding your skis sideways and the edge (outside edge of outside ski or inside edge of inside ski) caught against the snow suddenly stopping or greatly decelerating the ski causing you to loose your balance.

The language hasn't kept up with the times and people are now using the same phrase to describe what happens when an edge or part of an edge, usually but not necessarily a rear inside edge of inside ski, is inadvertently over-pressured due to a small imbalance. This "caught edge" arcs the ski on a different path causing a major bauble or fall.

(note by inside I mean inside the turn or closer to the centre from which turn radius would be measured)
post #20 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigE View Post
Contributing Ski factors: ..., large hourglass shape, ....
My Head SuperShape skis have 120mm tips, 65mm waist, and 105mm tails. They are tuned with 1° base edge bevel. They go straight, fast, and flat with no problem.

One catches an edge when one has their weight on the ski where it shouldn't be. This is from poor technique or from boot/leg misalignment.
http://www.gmolfoot.com/gmolfootperformance.htm
http://www.gmolfoot.com/gmolfootbalance.htm


Ken
post #21 of 25
Here out east, where we get excited over 5 cm of new snow, on a cat-track that has had 5,000 + pairs of skiis/day leaving parallel tracks on "packed powder" that look like hardwood flooring, the straighter your ski is, the less the ski wants to turn as it encounters each of these parallel ridges. Keeping the ski on a shallow edge is one solution, so is using a longer radiused ski.

In virgin snow, it does not matter much.
post #22 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kneale Brownson View Post
I frequently hear folks speaking of catching an edge when actually they just lost balance somehow.
Yup its an old wives tale turned into a poor excuse for making a simple mistake when skiing instead of admitting to making a technique error the skier says he caught an edge which turns the focus to the ski rather than the skier which is pretty sad and lame but also very human like a story about the fish that got away.
post #23 of 25
I didn't realize that the usage of this phrase had become more general over time, but from the posts in this thread and Ghost's comment, I guess it has.

Until this thread, I always thought of "catching an edge" as something that mostly happened during a transition from turn to turn. Often this happened to new skiers, who, when told to "commit to the new turn" would attempt to do so when they were carrying too little forward speed through a transition and instead, were actually sideslipping downhill a bit during transition.

They would dutifully put their center of mass on the downhill side of their skis and engage their downhill edges, but because their skis were skidding ever so slightly downhill, and their forward speed and/or the sidecut of their skis was not enough, the new turn they were hoping to start wouldn't be tight enough. It wouldn't generate enough centrifugal force ( - joke from other thread) back uphill to prevent them from falling to the downhill side of their skis. Instead, the downhill edges of their skis would lock in and track across the hill as their center of mass got further and further downhill from their skis. So, unless they did a fast and massive stemming move to replant their downhill ski back on the downhill side of them, they would wind up doing a face plant to the downhill side of their skis.

At least that's what I always thought of as "catching an edge".

Also, it wasn't always a new skier that had this problem. Just like Yuki said, it could just as easily be a good skier who stopped thinking about skiing on some easy, low angle slope or catwalk. Catwalks were particularly good places to "catch an edge" because with their narrowness and traffic, many good skiers who don't want to stem to control speed in a crowd, just do prolonged low angle sideslips. Since they are mostly sideslipping and not actually moving in the direction their skis are pointed, and since their edging is minimal, a little chunk of crusty snow or rut can catch their skis while their bodies keep on moving downhill.

YOT
post #24 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by ramshackle View Post
Yup its an old wives tale turned into a poor excuse for making a simple mistake when skiing instead of admitting to making a technique error the skier says he caught an edge which turns the focus to the ski rather than the skier which is pretty sad and lame but also very human like a story about the fish that got away.
Exactly, and of course it was always a snow snake that reached up and grabbed that edge.

YOT
post #25 of 25
I never realized that the phrase "catching an edge" took any blame away from the skier. YOT, your definition is correct. A lot of people do not speak correctly though. English is not a dead language.
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