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Help with turns at slow speed

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
I'm new to racing and looking for tips on turning at a slower speed. The last race I ran had a pretty flat start (gates 1-3 roughly). I really struggled in gates 2 and 3, where I wasnt up to speed and could not get the skis on edge. At Gate 1 I sort of double skated with my outside ski, which seemed to point me in the right direction. But gates 2 and 3 I was a mess trying to get a good line. Once I got up to speed I was ok.
Its strange, now that I am racing I need advice on going slow.
post #2 of 26
Aggressively tip the skis onto edge. When I was in college I often had this problem, but if you can remain balanced, the skis will come around when you roll them to a high angle. You can also try very tiny variations of pivot entry turns that will point your skis where you need to go without a loss of speed. One big key part of sets like this is to not get late in the first three gates in the flats. So, do what you have to to get around those gates and still keep your line (some stepping or skating may be necessary). Do not sacrifice the rest of the run for those first three gates though.
Later
Greg
post #3 of 26
Thread Starter 
Could you elaborate on the pivot entry turn a little? I'll do some experimenting next time out. thanks
post #4 of 26
A pivot entry turn is a tiny redirection at the top of the turn just before you engage the edges. It breaks "arc-to-arc" skiing but will point the tips into the fall line much faster. I think there is an entire thread in one of the isntruction forums dedicated entirely to developing pivot entry turns.
Later
Greg
post #5 of 26

Or go read The Skier's Edge...

Quote:
Originally Posted by HeluvaSkier View Post
A pivot entry turn is a tiny redirection at the top of the turn just before you engage the edges. It breaks "arc-to-arc" skiing but will point the tips into the fall line much faster. I think there is an entire thread in one of the isntruction forums dedicated entirely to developing pivot entry turns.
Later
Greg
..by Ron LeMaster. What Greg is describing is right on the money, and this is what LeMaster describes as pivoting the skis to the "initial steering angle."
post #6 of 26
I personally would not pivot on the first turns, not if you want to grab speed... ON flat terrain you can afford to go much deeper in the line and usually by the time you have to set yourself up for a pitch you have enough speed to get some reaction out of the ski.

I think your problem is that you dive in with the hip out of sequence. You have to go ankles, knees and then maybe if your fast enough, the hip. Go on a green trail and do a run of roller-blade turns, and maybe a run of boot touch.

My impression is also that you need to get more feel of the snow, its hard to tell without video but I would strongly recommend skiing very complete roller turns on some VERY flat terrain.

I honestly don't know why you would have to pivot in the first turns unless your running 215s in a GS course O_o
post #7 of 26
Don't know much about your course, but when I want to loose as little speed as possible and make a tight turn at slow speeds with skis meant for going faster, I totally lift the inside ski off the snow and use all my weight and momentum to bend just one ski, putting on a big edge angle and also using lot's of angulation.

It could also be that the course is deliberately designed to make you have to make a pivot entry to separate the field, if that's the case, then the above won't by much help. You gotta do what you gotta do.
post #8 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost View Post
It could also be that the course is deliberately designed to make you have to make a pivot entry to separate the field, if that's the case, then the above won't by much help. You gotta do what you gotta do.
Can't imagine a course setter who would make you pivot on the 3 first gates
post #9 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TMAS29 View Post
I personally would not pivot on the first turns, not if you want to grab speed... ON flat terrain you can afford to go much deeper in the line and usually by the time you have to set yourself up for a pitch you have enough speed to get some reaction out of the ski.

I think your problem is that you dive in with the hip out of sequence. You have to go ankles, knees and then maybe if your fast enough, the hip. Go on a green trail and do a run of roller-blade turns, and maybe a run of boot touch.

My impression is also that you need to get more feel of the snow, its hard to tell without video but I would strongly recommend skiing very complete roller turns on some VERY flat terrain.

I honestly don't know why you would have to pivot in the first turns unless your running 215s in a GS course O_o
I think I was diving in too soon with my hips. The 2 times I fell this season I was just free skiing at slower speed when I think I leaned in too far and fell over. I'll experiment with the different suggestions. thanks
post #10 of 26

Happens all the time...

Quote:
Originally Posted by TMAS29 View Post
Can't imagine a course setter who would make you pivot on the 3 first gates
...a lot of course setters just go straight out of the book (min/max number of gates, min/max vertical, required # of combinations, and so forth) and don't pay much attention to the terrain. In addition, I've skied courses, both in training and in races, that were either overall illegal or had a couple of sections that were at least questionable. So, as somebody said, when you get some cranky gates on the flat at the beginning of a course, ya gotta do what ya gotta do. Pivoting, skating, jumping from one ski to the other...whatever it takes.

One thing my coaches have always emphasized that a lot of athletes forget is to work on your start. Make a clean, powerful start, get the best velocity you can, then make the best turn you can by whatever method at the first gate...the rest will fall into place...
post #11 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkiRacer55 View Post

One thing my coaches have always emphasized that a lot of athletes forget is to work on your start. Make a clean, powerful start, get the best velocity you can, then make the best turn you can by whatever method at the first gate...the rest will fall into place...
YES!

At the Atlantic championships last year they put an interval between the start and 2nd gate in the super G race. There was up to 2 seconds difference in the top 10... You can make or lose A LOT of time in the 1st gate.


About course setting, I saw some sketch courses but usually only in slalom GS usually is more tame.
post #12 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by TMAS29 View Post
I personally would not pivot on the first turns, not if you want to grab speed... ON flat terrain you can afford to go much deeper in the line and usually by the time you have to set yourself up for a pitch you have enough speed to get some reaction out of the ski.

I think your problem is that you dive in with the hip out of sequence. You have to go ankles, knees and then maybe if your fast enough, the hip. Go on a green trail and do a run of roller-blade turns, and maybe a run of boot touch.

My impression is also that you need to get more feel of the snow, its hard to tell without video but I would strongly recommend skiing very complete roller turns on some VERY flat terrain.

I honestly don't know why you would have to pivot in the first turns unless your running 215s in a GS course O_o
What you're saying seems to make sense. I would also suggest making sure that there's enough tip pressure before increasing edge angle in any way. Work on this facet on the flats will help your speed in steeper sections, too...
post #13 of 26
I assure you, go see World cuppers warmup and train. I once watched Hermann Maier warmup from 7:30AM to 1 PM on a green trail getting the feel, take one run in a GS course and go home. Slow speed flat terrain is where you get your perfect technique and feel for your edges and angles.
post #14 of 26
You indicate that you are from Allentown (PA???). what hill are you talking about here?

Some courses like Shawnee and Sno .... are soooooooooooooo flat on top!
post #15 of 26
if your going slow position in slower. Same stance and execution at the gate only you may pick a straighter line. I think thats the same as Tmas29 was saying.
post #16 of 26
Thread Starter 
This was an asra race at bear creek.
post #17 of 26
My first guess is that you need to work on starts.

Do you do sharpen before a race?

Is there any offset between the start and the first gate and how does that affect the first kicks.

My thing would be to watch a few of the top dogs. Really watch them before your run. Count the number of kicks/skates they are using and watch the point where they start skiing and stop skating. Duplicate what you have seen.
post #18 of 26
Thread Starter 
I just started messing around in nastar last season. But this year, yes, I have been touching up my edges after every day out.
The offset wasnt bothering me, as I came out of the start in the right direction. But I stuggled with the 2nd and 3rd turns. Alot of it is rookie mistakes and trying too hard with my skating. I played hockey as a kid, so I can skate ok. My first run I tried skating between the 2nd and 3rd gates, and I almost fell over...just trying too hard.
So I can dial down the skates, and need to work on a quick crisp turn.
post #19 of 26
A quick, crisp turn could be much much slower than a deep line skied with soft edges.

A common misconception in racing is that you have to be able to make a carved turn in the shortest distance possible, its not. its about leaving the tips down the fall line and riding a long radius as much as you can. Tough to explain over a forum :/
post #20 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by TMAS29 View Post
A quick, crisp turn could be much much slower than a deep line skied with soft edges.

A common misconception in racing is that you have to be able to make a carved turn in the shortest distance possible, its not. its about leaving the tips down the fall line and riding a long radius as much as you can. Tough to explain over a forum :/
I think this video shows well what you're talking about:

Go to: http://www.totaldisruption.com/killer_runs.php

and play the video called "Ted is still in the lead!" from December 8, '07 in Bad Kleinkirchheim, Austria.
post #21 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TMAS29 View Post
A quick, crisp turn could be much much slower than a deep line skied with soft edges.

A common misconception in racing is that you have to be able to make a carved turn in the shortest distance possible, its not. its about leaving the tips down the fall line and riding a long radius as much as you can. Tough to explain over a forum :/
I hear ya...i guess i was thinking the quickest line is the shortest line for these first few gates that i was referring to, where it was flat.
post #22 of 26

Slow turns

Slow speed turns are actually a major challenge. In many ways they are MUCH more difficult than higher speed turns where you can use momentum to bend your skis to carve and use the change of momentum to generate G-forces to balance against, using inclination to create edge angle to use your sidecut more effectively. You actually have fewer tools, and if you try to make turns just like you would if you were going faster, you fall in or skid. But whatever speed you fail to gain by nailing those first three gates, you lose for the whole rest of the course, so in some ways they are the very most important.

Here's my advice:

1. Be as fast out of the start as possible. Cultivate a powerful, efficient start (forward, not up) and use everything (skating, poling) that makes sense to generate as much speed as possible through the first few gates (unless your course starts with a steep drop, which wasn't your situation.) Similarly, put the right wax on your skis for the conditions, and especially if you're racing in wet snow, use a high fluoro overlay. The frictionless feeling of skis waxed that way on wet snow in the start is not to be believed.

2. Use angulation. You do not have enough speed to use pure (or even mostly) inclination for those first few turns while loading your outisde ski enough to bend it and keep it from skidding. Try to tag the gate with your hip (side crunch) and do NOT pick this as a time to drop the inside shoulder.

3. When appropriate, consider a skate through the first gate. In a truly flat start area, sometimes you can time your skating to skate through the gate. (Exploding of your right ski to go left at the next gate or exploding off your left ski to go right at the next gate.) Then it's not a turn at all, simply an explosive continuation of your skating start, but dog-leg redirected toward your point of entry of the turn for the second gate.

4. Set nailing the first three gates as your key focus in the start area. Katherine Tichy, who skied for Canada in the Olympics, once told me some of the best advice she ever got, from one of the greats of womens' ski racing (sorry, have forgotten the name) --all she thought about in the start was nailing the first three gates: After three gates, we're all in reaction mode, recovering from our first mistakes, adjusing our line for the conditions, dealing with ruts. But you can have a plan for those first three gates, and nailing them gets you in a rythm and in confidence for nailing the rest of the course.

5. As suggested above, you can use a pivot entry turn, but it's really a special case. (We are now in the realm of controversial advice. Your mileage varies with this. 1,2, and 4 are good advice, for most racers this may not be.) Usually, you use a pivot entry turn when (A) the course set is too tight for a pure carved turn; or (B) when you got late or got trapped in the back seat delaying your transition and need to get back on line. (The coaches at the race clinic I was at this weekend barked in suprise at the video of my deploying a pivot entry turns--"that's an ADVANCED skill". Yeah, maybe, but for those of us who navigate the gates in linked recovery mode, it's actually essential to not eating the fences...) It's possible that the course is set too tight given your skills and speed to carve cleanly (case A) but there are also particluarly advantages of a pivot entry turn in your flat-top-of-the-course scenario: When the skis are light and you kind of "hop" them, pivoting them while light and then engaging them firmly when the angled edge hits the snow (A) you actually bend the shovel of the ski considerably more than if you just rolled onto the edge, and (B) you don't have as big of a remaining arc to carve, so you can actually do it, even with the limited speed (and limited ability to use inclination to engage the side cut.) You can combine advice 3 and 5 (and do what someone else suggested with putting all your weight just on the outside ski) by pivoting the outside ski landing on it edged, and exploding off of it in a skating step in the direction of the next gate. (Or, hell, you could take up juggling your ski poles between gates two and three. This is pretty advanced, and pretty free form. But I have seen it done, by a wicked fast Masters racer in his 60s.)

Caveat: Why everything in this number 5 is controversial is that hopping around on one ski unnecessarily, is slower in most cases than strong balanced two footed skiing. Double caveat: SfDean is drawn naturally and inexorably to the enthusiastic rather than the efficient. I've learned recently, that perhaps there is a LOT more speed not located in the neighborhood outside my particular collection of gross motor detours. Perhaps more about that later, but in the meantime, let's all just lurch back to the undeniably GOOD advice. i.e.,

6. Leave your bad habits behind, those first three gates before the breakover, and carve the cleanest turns you can. It's flat. This is the one time old man fear shouldn't be getting you to push the heels or to fail to get forward enough to properly bend the ski at turn initiation. You don't need to drop that inside hand, because you're just not that inclined and close to the snow. If you can nail the first two turns, you'll be going fast enough on the third, that you won't have to worry about not having enough speed to use your usual higher speed technique. And heck, even those of us who go to the land beyond words by gate three can remember advice for the first two gates ("stay forward" or "level shoulders" or "no frankenstein arms" or [fill in your second-saving particular bugaboo here].

7. Keep your feet wide enough apart. This is the wrong time to look like ski patrol. When you are going slow, and you have less momentum to play with, it's very easy with a narrow base of support to fall over (embarrassing, unfortunate, and before gate two you didn't really get your money's worth out of the tank of gas) or it leads to some desperate accidental 1000-steps shuffle/bobble almost fall over. Gate two is not really the ideal location for starting a new dance craze. (Believe me. I've done it. But it's the kind of thing that really shouldn't catch on.)

Good luck, and let us know how it goes. If all else fails, swap bib numbers with a really fast guy. Those guys nail the first three gates. That's why they're carrying so much speed by gate 12 where the snapshots are taken, showing that they can get crazy edge angles driven by inclination, legs way out to the side, balancing against all that speed they've built up and using that kinetic energy to make those edges bite and carve.

SfDean.
post #23 of 26
Thread Starter 
sfdean-
Alot of good info in there that is on point for what I'm trying to figure out.

And I know the gross motor detours too well...I was up on one ski trying to skate from gate 2-3 last time...then into the deep snow. Not exactly "nailing" the first three gates.

Thanks for the thorough reply.
And if all else fails, I'll work on paragraph 5!
post #24 of 26
If you're going slow enough, just step the turns. If you're going too fast, learn how to flex your boots and use your ankles. lol.
post #25 of 26
Thread Starter 
Update: I tried some of the suggestions. Just working the foot/ankle and then knee to turn (with angulation and minimal shoulder drop) seems to do the trick.
Thanks for the advice!
post #26 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by tomrh View Post
Update: I tried some of the suggestions. Just working the foot/ankle and then knee to turn (with angulation and minimal shoulder drop) seems to do the trick.
Thanks for the advice!
Keep in mind, doing too much on flats can absolutely DESTROY your time. Sometimes it's better to just step out rather than try and force it. If you feel like you have to force it at all, then you shouldn't be trying to turn and you should be stepping in/out instead.
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