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Movement During a Turn

post #1 of 64
Thread Starter 
At the risk of looking like a complete fool, I’ve got a question. One thing that has been drilled over and over in me is this. As you transition into the new turn, move forward and diagonally across the skis. I do understand what this does. I'll bet almost every instructor reading this has heard it at least once.

Now here’s my question. When during the turn do you move back?

I’ve never heard anyone discuss this. I realize that it must happen because at transition you need to move forward again. If all we did was move forward we’d be touching the tips of our skis before long.

Is it a gradual thing? Does it occur all at once? Does it occur at different rates during a turn? Does it occur at different times in a turn?

I realize that it is not something we need to teach. It seems to happen naturally. Plus teaching someone to move back will probably only result in more backseat problems. However, this is something I’ve thought about over the years and this is the first time I’ve brought it up.

Any thoughts out there on this?
post #2 of 64

What you have been drilled on is diagional directional movements. Diagional directional movements should be used to make directional changes in your skiing. The movements should be applied until you get to where you want your turn to go, from there a neutral position is passed through as you apply a directional diagional movement into the new turn.

During turn transition is where the biggest directional change occurs, but the movement is maintained as needed throughout the turn. The radius of the turn, type of snow, speed, and pitch of the hill all determines the rate, duration and intensity of the movements.

There are exercises and tasks that do teach diagional directional movements at different ability levels. Skating uses a quick powerfull directional movement, where a traverse across ice uses a softer, but longer duration directional movement. An upper level exercise that teaches diagional directional movements that are both quick and powerfull and also softer and longer duration, is thousand steps on a moderate pitch on hard packed snow. This exercise used quick and powerfull movements out of the old turn and into the new along with softer, longer movements as the skiier moves into the hill (acrost).

Once the movements are developed in a skier, they feel like they are pushing the inside ski and pulling the outside ski.

Hope this comes close to answering your q.

post #3 of 64
TS, getting back happens during the transition,,, when the outside/inside roles of the feet change. Typically there is counter and inside foot lead during a turn. While the skier may be fore balanced on the old outside foot, his/her CM somewhat trails (is aft of) the old inside foot. When foot roles reverse during the transition, the skier is suddenly aft, and must make a forward move to achieve an early fore stance for the new turn.

Also there is the changing state of rotation, as counter from the prior turn is reversed into counter for the new turn. The rotation that happens in the joints to achieve this creates a further sense of driving forward with the new inside hip.

Check out this montage to see what I'm talking about.
Notice the contrasting fore/aft balance relationships between the CM and the inside and outside feet during the early stages of the transition. Also consider the last image. Where would Bode's fore/aft balance be if he suddenly shifted his weight to his inside foot?
post #4 of 64
“When during the turn do you move back?”

As always I suspect the answer is dependant on a number of things. Before looking at solutions I think it worthwhile to spend some time on more detail in what is really going on.

“Fore/Aft” is a highly dependant perspective itself. Most skiers think of F/A with respect to their own F/A balance situation - even when highly inclined, angulated and deeply countered. In order to pin down an explanation we need to lock down our context. For the sake of material presented in this post assume that I mean F/A balance in the general sense of the skier’s whole body in relation to the “forward direction” the skis are currently traveling (not necessarily the direction our skis are pointing nor the exact direction our shoulders may be facing)

I’ll also take a brief detour and look at the Virtual Bump.

The virtual bump concept is generally talked about with respect to forces felt by a skier as they navigate from apex to apex. I want to focus on the actual F/A orientation of the ski itself as it travels that path.

Ignoring any lateral-tilt of the ski consider how it rotates in its own F/A plane thru each turn cycle.

At apex on a 30-degree slope the ski’s longitudinal axis is “tilted forward” 30-degrees. As the skier progresses into an across-the-slope transition, the ski effectively rotates backward - from 30, to 20, to 10, and finally to 0-degrees (horizontal). As the skier continues into the next turn, the ski goes from 0, to 10, to 20, and back to 30-degrees forward tilt at new-turn apex.

From Transition into new-turn the ski effectively ‘rotates forward’ (tip downward from 0 to 30-degrees) but our upper body has no reason to follow. Inertia (in this case rotational inertia) causes the upper body to remain with its existing orientation (inertial state) unless something actively tips it forward.

Likewise, from Apex to transition the skier must accommodate the ski as it rotates backward (tip upward from 30 to 0-degrees).

Through proper flexion/extension of their joints the skier can maintain a favorable overall body position as the ski rotates back and forth thru this cycle. Some people use primarily ankle flexion to do this. Others use knee and thigh muscles. Many skiers avoid the problem entirely by constantly managing their whole body to ‘keep it moving’ in such a way as to accommodate F/A rotational issues. (not concerned with solutions here - just the nature of the problem.)

So: In effect the skier is potentially ‘moving back’ (if we judge their pattern from a F/A rotational perspective) during Apex to transition. As Rick states, also transferring our weight from the trailing foot to the lead foot exacerbates the problem

A key to ‘skiing well’ is to recognize the abrupt F/A transitions that occurs at both transition and apex. At apex the skis stop their forward rotation and begin rotating backward. At transition they stop their backward rotation and begin rotating forward. This is why it’s so easy to ‘catch up’ with our skis after apex and recover if we got behind. It's also be why our skis tend to get away from us at turn entry in the first place.

The timing and intensity (and progressiveness) of each cyclical F/A adjustment is what determines the quality of our F/A balance overall. If you ‘stalled’ (stopped moving) from apex to transition you’ll need a greater magnitude of effort to ‘get forward’ during transition. After transition, it's too late because increasing acceleration pins you back.

Acceleration and deceleration play a large role in the situation. Near turn finish we may actually be decelerating and therefore need our upper body (CM) to be ‘back’ a bit of our feet in order to properly to stand against the deceleration. When our skis accelerate downhill again we need our upper body (CM) to be ‘ahead’ of our feet. Somehow we need to move our CM from behind our feet to a position in front of our feet to be properly in position for acceleration. Note that transferring support properly from lead foot to trailing foot helps here if you have tip lead.

Bottom line is that when we “feel” like we’re pulling ourselves forward in relation to our skis it may be literally true in a linear sense (if we physically got back) or it may only be true in a F/A rotational sense.

I’ve over simplified the whole idea and I didn’t take into account effects related to inclination of the skier. The tighter the turn; the more inclined the skier will be at speed. In such a case the turn itself will impart a ‘backward rotation’ on the skier in some sort of inclined plane. As Rick says the effects of Tip Lead change and changes in state of counter also integrate deeply into the situation as well as other elements.

post #5 of 64
Interesting, Rick. That's something that hadn't ever crossed my mind. And your take, MichaelA, is also kind of a new one for me. I'm glad you oversimplified it! It had been less simple, my brain would have been fried. As it is, I may have nightmares about the idea of F/A rotation of a ski!

I've always sensed that the answer to this question is mainly that, as I start to release the high edge angle coming out of the fall line, the ski immediately starts to accelerate out from under me--both from the "snapback" going across the hill, and just the decrease in friction from softening the platform. In both cases, the body gets quickly left behind. In any case, it's more of a "getting back" as Rick says, rather than a moving back, as implied from T's original question.
post #6 of 64
Another turn component that puts us back is Flexion if we're not careful. When Flexing into finish the sker might use considerable knee and hip articulation without much ankle and waist/back involvement.

This causes the skis to squirt forward a bit but because we're in the process of 'absorbing' we don't notice it so much. The moment we start to extend again we're doing so with our feet slightly in front of our CM. Extension (in isolation of any other adjustment) will simply push our upper body further back.

post #7 of 64
You don't move back. At the end of the third phase and the beginning of the first you make the transition and move forward. You are now on the inside of the turn with the skis going faster than you, on the outside. When they now catch up at the end of the second phase and the beginning of the third you are now centered again to begin the next turn
post #8 of 64
At a recreational level, people just get left behind, because they don't accelerate with the skis as the skis start to release. This is a simpler version of what MichaelA says about the skis, relative to the body, rotating fore/aft. (I think.)

And yes, I agree with RayCantu.
post #9 of 64
Thread Starter 
Now, I'm starting to understand a bit more. RayCantu's description makes sense with the COM moving on a shorter path than the skis.

I think if we include that in our discussions with other instructors it will make more sense.
post #10 of 64
The way I think of this is that I don't actually ever go back. I concentrate on moving my body where I want to be a fraction of a second into the future. As RayCantu says, the equipment catches up to us. With the playing field moving and changing and with us moving to stay balanced over it, I try to perceive myself as continually moving forward toward where I want to go. The skis change direction, acceleration, velocity, bend, edge angle, and position relative to the rest of my body throughout the turn, but I want to keep moving and directing energy toward where I want to be.

There are complications and conditions that change this and tactics that might have to be employed to adapt to the changes (air, bumps, ice, ugly vertical trough of death, all of these at one time!), but in most cases I would attempt to ski the way I've described.
post #11 of 64
Originally Posted by Rick View Post

The rotation that happens in the joints to achieve this creates a further sense of driving forward with the new inside hip.

Check out this montage to see what I'm talking about.
Notice the contrasting fore/aft balance relationships between the CM and the inside and outside feet during the early stages of the transition. Also consider the last image. Where would Bode's fore/aft balance be if he suddenly shifted his weight to his inside foot?
July 2, 2007

Dear All (especially T^^2):

Thanks and very interesting question which seems obvious after T2 raised it but have never heard it discussed just in this fashion (i.e. when/why does our CM get back?). I always thought that my perpetual "toilet stance" was due to inferior technique. Now I can blame it on the "counter" whatever that means.

Love Ricks response (Bode's GS picture sequence) as well as hint on the "fix" (new inside hip lead).

Isn't there a special PSIA term which describes how my mind (or lack thereof) absorbs ski instructions?

post #12 of 64
All the above are great explanations of why the cm tends to move "back" relative to the feet during an turn.

I can think of another: traditionally, it was a deliberate tactic of ski-racers to "get more on to the heels" towards the end of the turn, in order to use the stiffer, narrower, rear part of the ski to produce more grip and then acceleration. (Whereas more weight was needed on the softer, front part of the ski at initiation to begin guiding the skis into the arc.)

As I say, this has been a traditional tactic - not sure how much it is used deliberately today, although Bode certainly seems to "ride those tails" quite a bit!
post #13 of 64
Look at Bode racing he always rides the tail of his skis.
post #14 of 64
CharlieP, I think the term you're looking for is Osmosis.

Ghost... nice.

Yes, that's half of it. My experience is that teaching students to address purely acceleration related issues works well for many, but not all. Showing them the nature of the F/A 'rotational reversal' helps the remaining students make the necessary final adjustments.

In general if the student is moving appropriately, the issue isn't present. If they're not 'moving with their skis' (stalling before or during transition) then the issue reveals itself.

post #15 of 64
Okay, ma. Is this the same thing as explaining to students that the ski, moving off it's traversing platform, moves to a place where it is now less level, and more tilted, therefore the body has to tip down hill (forward relative to the tip of the ski) in order to maintain balance and control of the ski? If so. I agree. If not, I don't know what you're talking about. I'm giggling here because the term F/A rotational reversal is so new to me.
post #16 of 64
That's a big 10-4 Mr. Weems, Sir.

With that in mind... should the student first move off that level platform and then make an upper body adjustment to re-align to the new "downhill pointing" ski angle?

Should we teach the student to make a forward adjustment just before they leave that horizontal platform?

Should we teach the student to make upper body adjustments at precisely the same rate at which the ski tilts downhill?

(Careful - what seems right might not be the best idea mechanically.)

post #17 of 64
I think the forward adjustment (and the tipping) is what takes it off the platform and down the hill.
post #18 of 64
Is it possable that the human instinct to stand with our body perpindicular to the earths crust vs the need to keep our body fairly perpindicular to our skis is the source of this problem? If you THINK "move my body forward and laterally into the next turn" it helps you maintain an effectively balanced stance on your skis. If you are not aware of, and trying to overcome instinct, we end up in the back seat. To me part of learning to ski well involves overcoming the instinctive tendency and making the non instinctive movement/position a habit.
post #19 of 64
I think your proposal is more than just possible - I think it’s very likely. And I think it’s two different aspects of instinct.

In the first aspect we humans seem to be well trained to react in a particular way to slippery earth. When a foot starts to slip out from under us instinct causes us to thrust that foot harder against the surface to increase friction and stop it from going any further out from under us. We also tend to thrust that foot in the direction of the slide to ‘push us back up’ should it properly engage the surface as we desire.

In the second aspect we instinctively ‘stand against the earth’ in an upright position against the pull of gravity. When standing on the back of an accelerating hay-trailer, truck or other vehicle we instinctively lean forward to stand against the new direction of thrust in order to ‘rebalance’. When the vehicle brakes we stand against the deceleration by leaning backward. As the vehicle turns we instinctively stand against the centripetal (turning) force by leaning away from the outside of the turn.

In all these cases we have sufficient friction underfoot to accurately control the re-positioning of our upper body over our feet opposite the new direction of pull - in order to stand against it.

With a sliding platform underfoot these instinctive habitual responses no longer work and we need to replace them with deliberate alternate patterns of balancing that are more appropriate on a sliding platform. As you say the trick is overcoming instinct and the key is in deliberately implementing directional movements that do work when sliding.

The question is how to teach it to skiers… which brings me back to the three options listed above. In truth all three options can be made to work though some work better than others.

The first option listed above is to allow our skis to start moving of their own accord (regardless how we break static friction) and then adjust our upper-body position as needed. This is fine on mild slopes as there is little forward acceleration to deal with and little F/A rotation of the skis as they seek the fall line. We’d be out of balance for a moment but would have sufficient leg and core muscle to correct the situation in short order.

On steeper terrain this first method works poorly or not at all. With the greater slope angle our skis more quickly rotate down-slope than our inertia-bound upper-body can accommodate. Worse, the high (and increasing) rate of acceleration of our feet (out from under us) will keep our upper-body pinned back despite our best efforts to ‘get forward’ again.

This huge effort to ‘get forward’ is therefor applied too late and likely creates a second problem...

In our effort to ‘get forward’ we muscle our upper-body forward using quads and core muscles. By the time our turn is just past the fall-line we have considerable tension in both quads and core muscles to resist the high acceleration - just as that acceleration abates. At this point our quad and core muscles are way over activated for the rapidly declining rate of acceleration at our feet. Our over-activated quads suddenly have the power to cause our knees to straighten out, and our over-activated core muscles cause our upper-body to fold forward at the waist.

This is what causes the classic ‘Bending at the Waist’ problem seen late in turns on steep slopes. Essentially, the skier is not compensating for the down-slope rotation of the skis early enough and are not properly positioned for the inherent acceleration on that slope. These skiers are being pulled forward at the waist by over-tensed muscles the moment acceleration goes away.

The third option (I’ll get to #2 in a moment) is to make F/A balance adjustments precisely in sync with ski-rotation in the F/A plane. This sounds good if we think in terms of “not doing anything before it’s needed” - but exactly when is F/A adjustment really needed?

Consider that moving truck bed again. Is it practical to wait until acceleration is present to make your stance adjustments? Wouldn’t it work better to notice the driver stomping on the gas petal, make your approximate F/A adjustment quickly, then experience the truck accelerate underfoot a brief moment later? How about the Sumo Wrestler who stands upright waiting for the precise moment that his opponent slams into him to hunker down in order to hold his position?

In my view the third option is just like the first option - essentially making F/A balance adjustments too late to be effective.

The second option, making F/A orientation adjustments just prior to forward rotation of the skis (and therefore prior to an increase in acceleration) is most likely to succeed.

How ‘far ahead’ should we move and when? I think that depends on the expected degree and rate of forward ski rotation and the expected rate of forward acceleration. On steep slopes the skier needs to get further ahead sooner to compensate for the greater down-slope (F/A) rotation of the skis and greater acceleration expected. Not so much on milder slopes.

We can do this by moving our upper-body forward or (more practically) holding our feet back while our upper-body contunues moving ahead. This delivers the sense that our upper-body is leading the skis into each new turn with our skis catching up late in the turn. The ‘shorter path’ our body takes in relation to our skis will also exaggerate this (accurate) perception.

Some people call this “Balancing into the future” which I consider a very fuzzy phrase… yet “Dynamic Balance” doesn’t quite fill in the necessary concept of ‘pre-positioning’. With so many people playing at Re-Word-Smithing lately maybe someone can come up with a term intrinsically meaningful here...?

post #20 of 64
How about: "MOVE to the future." ?

That is: If, as we ski, we're thinking about where we've BEEN, or where we are NOW, it will be too late to do what is needed to move to where we want to go NEXT?
post #21 of 64
Look where you're going, not where you've been!
post #22 of 64
Tough, isn't it!

Seems like it should be an easy thing to specify with only a couple of words - but it's not. Especially when trying to design a simple term that doesn't need to be explained at great length.

Sorry Snomiser - but your post seems to be blank. And for some reason, I have double vison when I try to look at it.

post #23 of 64
Hi Michael!

I was just using my favorite expression to reiterate what you were saying about moving into the future. It's the same expression I use for my mantra, which explains your double vision. For some reason the beginning of my post didn't show up. Anyway, you're right it should be an easy concept, but it's hard for people to grasp right away.
post #24 of 64
Seems to me that anticipation is a major component of what's needed. If your tractor starts forward abruptly and you're not expecting it's movement, you'll end up leaning back, out of balance and using those core muscles trying to catch up. If the tractor's acceloration is slow enough your adjustments are small and gradual. If you know the tractor is going to accelorate abruptly, you anticipate by starting your movement earlier, maybe even before the tractor starts moving. How much you move forward is a function of how abruptly and how fast the tractor moves.

While skiing we learn how much movement is needed and when to apply it through experience, and probably for most of us, ineffective or counter productive, guided discovery.

Relooking at T-Squares real question "when do we move back?" I don't think we ever want to intentially move back. (I'm thinking recreational skiers not racers.) Less skilled skiers would instinctively be moving back in the 2nd part of the turn. i.e. after skis have crossed the fall line and before we start the next turn. More skilled skiers, those that have overcome the instinctive move, stay forward.

Less skill = trying to recover balance, moving from the back seat.
More skill= anticitapting, skiing in the future.
post #25 of 64

Nice post and I agree. If you use directional movements (diagionally), the body is always either leading the ski movement, or moving along with the equipment. Many skiers are trying to keep up with their equipment. The movement should be down the hill and out of the old turn (diagionally) and into the direction of the new turn and then as the fall line is passed, you should keep moving diagionally toward the hill and repeat for next turn. Diagional movement out of the old turn and diagional movement into the new.

I think of not so much moving forward and then back at some point, but moving in the intended directions of travel.

post #26 of 64
Thanks Ron,
your post triggered 3 thoughts.
1st (stated with tongue in cheek) the only time I struggle to keep up with my skis is after they've come off, although occasionally I leave them behind.

2nd, by "keeping up" what we're really striving for is to stay effectively balanced over the skis. Envision your bodies center line at a right angle to the for/aft plane of the skis. As the hill gets steeper this gets tougher because of that instinctive tendency to stay perpindicular to the horizon. For me thinking "keep the body in front of the feet" seems to work. There are many mental Q's, we each have to find tha one that works for us.

3rd, Is it possable that "moving laterally into the next turn" is really a Q that leads to our keeping our bodies balanced over our skis laterally? Here think in terms of the bodies centerline staying perpendicular to the skis in the lateral plane. I'm thinking as I type (dangerous) and now pondering the implications of angulation/banking/inclination.
post #27 of 64
Are these directional movements the primary cause for the center of mass (COM) changing sides, or are the directional movements a secondary effect of another motive force that causes you to change sides?
post #28 of 64
post #29 of 64
If you slide straight down hill, direction doesn't change until you do something, let's say, lift your big toe on your right foot. After lifting the toe, skis begin to turn right. Inertia will cause your body to continue down hill and CM will end up on the left side of your feet. Therefore the change of sides is a result. You could resist this inertia using muscles and keep your CM uphill of your feet until you choose to relax and let your CM flow downhill. Resisting the inertia for too long will result in being out of balance to the rear.

On the other hand, if your CM continues moving downhill while your feet move out from under your body, eventually your skis will be forced to tip from uphill edges to downhill edges and they will begin to turn back the other way. This would mean directional movements are also the result of inertia.

This gets me back to thinking about anticipation being a key to balanced/skilled skiing. Anticipate when to relax and let gravity and inertia do the work.

And if you let your CM flow downhill you don't have to worry about T-Square's question about moving fore or aft. You stay forward all the time.
post #30 of 64
Well, do you lift your big toe first or throw yourself into the turn?
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