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The "Pre Turn" and how to ski bumps like a Pro

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
I find the "pre turn" consept to be a great way to add some fluency to my skiing especially in bumps. I dont need a lot of speed or a big bump to get my body un-weighted; a narrow stance, a small bump, a quick "jabb" (pre turn), a blocking pole plant on top of the mogul as I down-unweight, a slow motion ski pivot-leg extention and stearing into the fall line. Special skill is timing and requirement for that is feel and athletisism. Im not saying it is very very difficult but my experiance with even good skiers is that you eather get it our you dont.

Also take note that my speed varies and I almost come to a halt as I run into a bump. Let the bumps do the braking and the lifting. Ski one bump at a time. Aim for that soft snow packed on the uphill side of a bump. At the end of the third clip I dont unweight, I jump to the next bump insted just to display how much power there is stored in only a little bump. Special tip, keep our legs bent a little bit all the time so that you can extend just a hint when called for.

I hope this all makes sence.

Tom

http://ski.topeverything.com/default...nt&ID=7F9B91EF
post #2 of 13
As usual, I can't see the video with my last-century dial-up technology, but your description sounds like a good recipe for solid, basic bump skiing, TDK6.

I won't say that the quick speed check "jab" is always necessary, but it is certainly an important option whenever you need a little more speed control than you get simply by skiing up the bump. Likewise with the blocking pole plant--often useful for stability or to help pivot the skis quickly when needed, but in many turns a gentle pole swing and touch can help keep things flowing more smoothly.

Hey, wait--the video is finally downloading, slowly! Interesting--you actually don't do that little "jab" all the time, nor do you use a blocking pole plant all the time, just as I said. I like it! I also like that your stance is not so narrow as to eliminate the ability to steer your legs independently. A good illustration, too, of how to initiate turns from a flexed stance--one of the keys to bump skiing. Overall, a nice picture of clean, low-speed and low impact mogul technique. Nice!

Just a thought--while I agree with your advice to keep your legs bent at least a little, I wonder if you might extend them just a bit more in this sequence. I look at the right turn in #2, for example, and think that if you were to extend your legs out away from your body a little more in the middle of the turn, your skis would take a longer, rounder arc, more up on the side of that bump to your left, and coming into the finishing bump at more of an across-the-hill angle (overall a slower line), eliminating the need for the little pre-turn "jab" to check speed at the end of the turn. What do you think?

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 

Very good feedback!

Thanks Bob for watching the video and for your great comments. You have a very sharp eye and Im glad you spotted several things of importance and overlooked other not so important ones.

I totally agree with you that I could maybe extend more into the turn making my skis travel a bit further away but I guess that if I dont flex more than I do in the first two clips at the transition I also cannot extend more than what you see in those turns. I will deffinetly think about it and try it out. Could be that I do extend more under normal circumstances but that I was so consentrated on the pre turn jab while doing this demo that I forgot proper extention into the turn, thanks for pointing that out.

The stance width is not legs glued together but also not wide. Important is that both feet can be used as one base as well as independently. We talked about this with Pierre a few years back where he pointed out that my stance was not really closed but narrow. I apply the same logic here as in the leg extention case where I let my legs be a little flexed at all times so that I can if circumstances demand allways extend a bit more. This applies to stance width in the sence that if I have them slightly open I can allways close them if I need to.

Yes, I dont do the jab or the blocking pole plant all the time because every single bump is different and needs to be handled sort of in a case by case manner. I dont have anything against a more smooth pole plant but a blocking pole plant with a lot of antisipation is a great way to help us turn in bumps, when its steep or when we need extra controll like if there is very little space. Also if my basic technique is based on the pre turn consept I dont have to show it openly but sometimes it shines through.

Do you find my comments to make any sence?

Tom
post #4 of 13
Makes sense to me, Tom! I completely agree with your description of stance width--narrower is better in moguls, providing the legs don't get so close together that they interfere with each other or prevent the (very important) ability to rotate independently of each other.

It is worth noting that the more actively you are able to rotate your legs beneath your pelvis--femurs rotating the hip sockets--the less the "anticipated stance" you refer to involves twisting in the torso and abdomen (the pelvis becomes part of the "upper body") and the less the blocking pole plant is needed to help turn the skis.

Bump skiing is only slightly a question of doing it "right," and largely a test of versatility and adaptability, especially at speed. As you say, every bump is unique. There are no wrong moves, but there are certainly bad habits!

Best regards,
Bob
post #5 of 13
One thing you said in paragraph 2 of your post #3 catches my eye:
Quote:
Could be that I do extend more under normal circumstances but that I was so consentrated on the pre turn jab while doing this demo that I forgot proper extension into the turn
This is very true, and it represents a common "catch-22" in skiing and learning in general. If we think we will need to make a certain movement at a certain time, we'll generally make sure to create a need for that movement. So if you're trying to demonstrate a pre-turn, it makes sense to ski a straighter line at the bump that will necessitate the sudden tightening of the arc and speed check the pre-turn entails. In this case, it is likely due to your intent to demonstrate the pre-turn, but quite often I think it is less conscious and can lead to a false sense of improvement.

[Warning--slight digression from the original topic here!] So if a student believes (for any reason) that he should "extend the uphill leg to cause a crossover" to initiate a turn, for example, he will be very likely to finish the previous turn "stuck" too far uphill from his feet, in which case he will, in fact, need to do "something" to move into the next turn, and the uphill leg extension will feel just right. The natural conclusion is likely to be that, sure enough, extending the uphill leg at turn initiation is a "correct" and fundamental movement that is important for initiating a turn. In fact, it is not essential and if you move accurately out of the last turn, it is not needed, but the mere thought that it is essential becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Expectations of a movement alone can create the need for an otherwise unnecessary movement!

I see this pattern happening a lot, and it can leave a student with a real sense of improvement, when all that really happened was that an instructor patched--and may have even created--one problem with another!

Best regards,
Bob
post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks Bob for you participation here. Good posts as well. I agree that the pre turn in itself is not really the most attractive style in bumps but I have found out that one of the biggest problems in bump skiing for folks is that they dont SKI! Usually they are just along for annother horrible ride up and down and up and down and then finally crash. Bumps need to be skied! High tempo, flexing, extending, edging, crashing through bumps, flying over bumps etc. Whats great with the pre turn is that it activates the skier and focuses on timing as I pointed out earlier. Taking a slower line is ok but not allways possible so being able to pre turn is just one more usefull skill to add to your toolbox. I dont believe that it causes any bad habbits since the same kind of mooves can be used in powder skiing and classic short turns. After we jab the skis uphill our body crosses over our skis and our new outside ski leg is easily extended.

What the pre turn really does is that it creates an imaginary bump. As you can see from the first two clips the bumps dont need to be big at all and speed can be slow. It can also be used very effectively on completely flat snow.

My skis are also not optimal for bumps. They are 166cm racing department slalom skis and they are very stiff. Taking a slower line and hitting the bump more tip first is what I usually do with sof tip skis.

Im not really shure but in a linked format could the pre turn also be called a fish hook turn?
post #7 of 13
Is it me, or do the poles look too long?
post #8 of 13
Great posting sequence, guys. This kind of thread is what made the Instruction and Technique Forum so worthwhile. It's great to see threads like this.
post #9 of 13
I agree, great read! (noobs first post )
post #10 of 13
Quote:
Taking a slower line is ok but not allways possible so being able to pre turn is just one more usefull skill to add to your toolbox.
Very true! As I always say, "good skiing is skiing a slow enough line as fast as you can--when you can--and braking when you have to." Offensive skiing is using gravity to slow you down as much as possible (going uphill), rather than braking to fight gravity. But obviously, once you've reached the top of a bump, it's all downhill from there. If you still need to slow down more, that little pre-turn speed check is very helpful--and very right!

Likewise, whenever you get tossed back and out of balance--which is inevitable in bumps now and then--the ability to twist the skis sideways to slow them down gives you a chance to catch back up to them and recover.

So speed checks are certainly part of good bump skiing, like braking moves anywhere. Even in race cars, braking skills are critically important, but riding the brake is a bad habit.

I might disagree slightly about the likelihood of braking/checking becoming a bad habit, though, for reasons I described above. It shouldn't become a habit, but since it can be one of those self-perpetuating moves, it can easily become one.

Either way, I think that the key is to focus more on the release of the edge of the downhill ski as your body crosses over and moves down the hill--whether you've pre-turned/checked or not--to start a turn. This is something you show quite nicely in your video sequences, vs. pushing off and extending "up" off that set edge to unweight and then pivot the skis into a skid.

Yes, I would describe "pre-turn" turns as "fish-hook-shaped."

Welcome to EpicSki, littleenglish!

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #11 of 13
Phil--good observation about the poles. I'm not sure that they are too long for general use (going from memory here--no time to download the video again), but since Tom plants them when he is most flexed, on the top of the bumps, they can appear that way. Bump specialists and competitive bump skiers often ski with very short poles.

Another thing that gives the impression of longer poles is the solid blocking plant that Tom is (intentionally) often demonstrating, which pushes his arm back and up, creating torque through his body that helps turn his skis down the hill quickly.

What do you think, Tom?

Best regards,
Bob
post #12 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Barnes/Colorado View Post
Phil--good observation about the poles. I'm not sure that they are too long for general use (going from memory here--no time to download the video again), but since Tom plants them when he is most flexed, on the top of the bumps, they can appear that way. Bump specialists and competitive bump skiers often ski with very short poles.

Another thing that gives the impression of longer poles is the solid blocking plant that Tom is (intentionally) often demonstrating, which pushes his arm back and up, creating torque through his body that helps turn his skis down the hill quickly.

What do you think, Tom?

Best regards,
Bob
Thanks guys for all your nice words. Yes, the poles are a bit long and since Im very flexed when I plant the poles they look even longer. I know that bump skiers use shorter poles but I have been skiing with poles this long since 1980 so changing to shorter is not very easy for me to do. I have tried. That doesent mean that you guys should go out and buy long poles like mine.

I think you are perfectly right in all your comments Bob. Thanks for such good feedback in this thread.

Tom
post #13 of 13
Thread Starter 
In bumps you should also try to get ski rebound from the vallies between the bumps and not from the bumps themselves. The pre turn jab should be timed to happen just as you hit the bump but it should also be followed by immediate flexion of legs so that you pass over the crest of the bumps unweighted.
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