Yes, it is a good post, Miles. But there are a few more things to consider still.
|Provided your not smearing short turns you general need high edge angles, which means lots of inclination, which means lots of angulation which means counter.
Remember that inclination and angulation are independent of each other--although they often coincide, you can use "lots of inclination" without any angulation, and vice-versa. More importantly, the relationship between "angulation" and "counter" are a little more complex than you imply. Counter promotes, and usually accompanies, hip angulation,
but knee angulation
is actually promoted by a rotated
stance (for better or worse).
Good skiing usually involves tipping movements that originate in the feet and ankles ("low in the kinetic chain") and work their way up, as needed, through the knees and hips. Knee angulation (which is actually knee flexion combined with internal rotation of the femur in the hip socket) is a weaker movement, and one properly reserved for fine-tuning edge angles, while inclination and hip angulation provide most of the edge angle. Strong knee angulation (and rotation) put a skier in a weak position, vulnerable to injury, and are generally discouraged in modern skiing.
Regardless, it is important to maintain a position/alignment that maximizes movement options. Excessive counter, while it promotes hip angulation, "uses up" the rotation available in the hip sockets, preventing any knee angulation whatsoever. The excessively straight and rigid leg that results is also a vulnerable and ineffective position. "More counter" is not always "more better"!
There's a simple experiment you can do in your living room to demonstrate these relationships. Stand comfortably, barefoot, on a carpet, feet naturally separated. Now rotate your upper body (shoulders) strongly to your right. Notice that your hips move left, eliminating any possibility of hip angulation to tip your feet to the right. But notice too how easy it is now to tip your knees
to the right. This is the position typical of the skier who uses a lot of upper body rotation--pronounced knee angles, but minimal hip angles, and often an "a-frame" as the outside knee angulates more than the inside knee.
Now, twist your upper body and pelvis strongly to your left,
to an exaggerated "countered" position. Now it's very easy to increase your hip angulation, right? It's just a matter of bending forward at the hips, like sitting down on a bench beside you. But also notice that your knees are now locked up, incapable of any angulation whatsoever. This is the position typical of the strong counter-rotator--lots of hip angles, no knee angles--the skier Weems and Squatty once described as the "Dig Me" skier, swiveling his tails left and right with a narrow stance, and pushing his skis sideways to their edges.
Finally, stand straight again and try turning just your feet to the right, rotating your legs in the hip sockets, while your pelvis and upper body remain stable. It's not necessary, but it might be easier to turn your feet one at a time. This is "independent leg rotation" and, if you've done it right, your feet now point to your right, so you are somewhat "countered," and you have developed some tip lead with your right foot as well. (Yet lines across your toes, knees, pelvis and shoulders remain parallel, as shown in my illustrations.) Now notice that you have all your options available--you can tip your feet, and/or angulate at the knees and/or hips, or all three.
So the lesson is that we want to maintain an optimal stance--neither excessively square or rotated nor excessively countered. Only the rotary mechanism of "independent leg rotation" consistently provides this benefit!
I would not conclude that it is necessarily a benefit to "counter early." Again, counter-rotation of the upper body involves torque, which affects the skis (much discussed above--may be a good thing if done with precision, moderation, and purpose, but may also simply twist the skis into a skid). And it may interfere with the subtle low-in-the-kinetic-chain tipping movements so imiportant for refined edge control.