A little background. . .
First and foremost, remember what a Wedge Christie is, and what it is not.
It is a representative phase in the development of beginning skiers as they learn the fundamental movements and tactics of expert high-performance linked offensive turns. It is not
a kind of turn, distinct from, say, parallel turns. Its unique characteristics (wedge, matching to parallel, skis gently brushing on the snow) "happen" unintentionally, due to very low speed, active steering (rotary) required to shape turns smaller than your skis can carve, and the difficulty of rotating both legs in the hip sockets at equal rates in the same direction at the same time. It does not
happen as a result of intentionally pushing the skis into a wedge, or intentionally trying to skid or brake. It is not
a "step" in a teaching progression. Good instructors do not teach wedge christies--they teach movement patterns and help students develop fundamental skills. Wedge christies typically result at an early stage of development on the direct
route to higher performance parallel turns.
PSIA recognizes this developmental phase with the name "wedge christie." Instructors, presumably, have developed their skills far beyond the level of wedge christie, but we need to be able to perform them accurately so that our demonstrations to students at this level clearly show all the important fundamental movements of higher level offensive turns, in a form accessible to our students. In other words, if we show the same movements at a higher performance level--ie., "
parallel"--our students may think that they've made a mistake when their skis move into a slight wedge. Their efforts to "correct" the mistake will make their skis parallel, but only at the expense of "bad" movements (movements that don't belong in this type of modern, offensive turn, at any level.
SO, for instructors with strong, accurate movement habits, the key to making a wedge christie is to focus on tactics and fundamental principles,
not techniques and characteristics.
Essential fundamentals include
Here's the key!
- The turn must begin with a release of the edge of the downhill (new inside) ski (not a pushoff from the platform of an engaged edge).
- Both skis are guided actively (muscularly) into the new turn--"tips into" the turn, as opposed to twisting or pushing tails out. This guiding or steering involves the legs rotating in the hip sockets, like the wheels of a car steering in the wheel wells, with no rotation or counter-rotation of the upper body (including arms, hips, shoulders, and head) or "blocking pole plant" (firmly planted pole that twists the skis by transmitting torque through the outstretched arm).
- Turns are offensive--they are made to control line as precisely and accurately as possible, rather than to control speed. They are made to "go that way," rather than to "stop going this way."
- Speed is controlled by the line--by completing turns, by gliding as fast as possible on a "slow enough line" (the much-discussed "slow line fast"). Skis are not used as brakes.
- "Positive movements"--exclusively! Every movement you make should tend into the turn--in a right turn, nothing should move left. No pushing tails out, no intentional skid, no active movement uphill toward the new outside ski, and so on).
In other words, a wedge christie involves a wedge early in the turn followed by matching to parallel, with gentle skidding/brushing skis, at very low speed. But to make a wedge christie, do not try to wedge, do not try to match, try to carve parallel turns with no skidding, and ski as fast as you can!
Just make sure that the line you ski is a very, very slow line indeed (very complete turns, possibly even finishing slightly uphill), with turns of considerably tighter radius than your skis can carve. Get the tactics right, with sound "parallel turn fundamentals," and the wedge christie will happen despite your best efforts to prevent it!
These tight radius turns will require active rotary movements (leg steering) and will also help keep the speed down by spending little time gliding down the fall line.
Make it happen. Don't try to "do" it. Don't cheat. That's why accurate wedge christies are so very hard to do. Because they happen so slowly, any errors in timing or misunderstanding of fundamental movements will jump out as a glaring error. Like riding a smooth, precise line at very low speed on a bicycle, it takes skill!