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# Confused about turns - Page 2

Quote:
 Originally Posted by tdk6 Scating! Why do you want to skate? .
I've seen that in a few books, and then when I met the instructor I had my last two lessons with (whose actually better than some of the instructors I had over the past few years), he insisted that it's a critical skill towards balance and later turns.

Also, I kill my knees going on the flats, and our local hill is full of them (and of easy trails which are closer to being flat)

### Learning to ski in the dark ages

Quote:
 Originally Posted by BillA Have at it.
Turning on skis - from an old man’s perspective.

Many years ago, before the flying wedge, skiers progressed to arcing turns through a simple series of progressions from snow plow to stem Christie to parallel turns to arcing.

It might be useful to see how this worked.

First we appeal to Newton’s laws.
Turning requires acceleration which requires forces, a = F/M. You apply forces to the snow via the bottoms of your skis, and the snow pushes back on the skis.

Now let’s examine how we can get forces from skis using some simple models.

First consider the ski as a plank of wood, a stiff unbendable plank as a 1st approximation.
Most of us have used those snow shovels that are about 8 inches high and two feet wide. You can push them along in front of you as you scrape your driveway of snow. They push back. You can angle them so that one end is further ahead than the other. The snow will form a trail along one side and a noticeable sideways force must be applied to keep the shovel tracking straight. Like a snow plow pushing the snow to one side of the road, the snow pushes the snowplow towards the other side.

If you push a vertical plank of wood held across your direction of travel through the snow it will push straight back. If you angle that plank so that it’s top is tipped forward it will ride up over the snow. The closer to vertical it is the more it pushes back, the closer to horizontal it is the less it pushes back.

If you place one end of that plank further ahead than the other end, it will push snow to one side and be pushed to the other side by the snow. In effect it is trying to follow its edge while deflecting the snow one way and you the other.

This is the basic principle of the snow plow turn. Setting your two skis at an angle to each other and tipping them up on edge in effect produced two “snow plows”, one pushing you one way, and the other pushing you the other way. Giving one ski more weight or more edge angle caused it to win the battle and make you turn. Giving both skis a lot of edge angle and weight caused them to fight each other and end up not going forward very well at all.

Snow plows were and are hard on the legs and very inefficient. The stem christie is a slight step better. Basically accepting that skis like to go where they are pointed a developing skier would soon point his skis down the hill to go down the hill and only do a snow plow turn when he needed to turn. The skier would adopt the “snow-plow” position by concentrating on the ski that was to supply the turning force. First it would be placed out there at an angle to the current direction of travel, and then weighted and put on edge. The other ski, not needing to supply any force was neither edged nor put into a “plow” position. In fact it was brought back parallel to the ski that had been moved into the new direction as soon as possible. The problem with the stem christie is that a lot of people it seems spent too long at this stage and developed a permanent stemming habit, instead of moving on.

Knowing full well that the stem-christie was a stop-gap technique, designed solely for the purpose of getting skiers to feel the end of the turn when the non-stemmed ski was riding along side the ski providing the turning force, skiers soon discovered they could just adopt that inclined position with both skis parallel without needing to stick out a ski and then bring the skis back together, the parallel turn.

The parallel turn in its ultimate form had the skis doing what they did best, travelling along their edges and not across them, but there were and are other forms of it. As with the snow plow, a ski on edge moving across the snow will push back and sideways. The amount of sideways force will depend on a number of factors, including the angle at which it crosses the direction of travel. The angle at which a ski on edge crosses the direction of travel can be changed, easily by applying more weight to the front or back of the ski and letting the snow do the work, or not so easily by forcibly twisting it by applying torque through the ski boot. A ski not so much on edge can be more easily twisted, and is less affected by the snow. An unweighted ski is also easier to twist. Playing with fore aft weighting and torque was used to shape the turns.

Skis do bend.
Carving “arc to arc” turns implies that the skis are moving along the edges of a ski that is bent into a curve. On soft snow the bases and the platform of snow supporting them are bent with the tips higher than the mid section. Inclining the skis so that a skier skiing up this page is leaning to the right would turn the curved shape of two skis into something like this ((, and the skis would go forward cutting a nice turn with their bases. On hard snow the side cut of the ski would ensure the same curved shape. Any skier skiing fast enough would discover arcing.

With today’s highly shaped skis, it is much easier to weight the edges and let them do the work, unweighting the ski to provide an initial angle across the direction of travel with a twist, makes it harder to have the edges grab. Edges cannot grab when they are unweighted. You can have the edges grip or you can have the edges release, but not both at the same time.
Quote:
 Originally Posted by uricmu I've seen that in a few books, and then when I met the instructor I had my last two lessons with (whose actually better than some of the instructors I had over the past few years), he insisted that it's a critical skill towards balance and later turns. Also, I kill my knees going on the flats, and our local hill is full of them (and of easy trails which are closer to being flat)
Scating is offcourse a vital skill in skiing both balance and muscle reaction and timing wise. Good drill, good instructor.

Your knees are killing you! Dont mind me asking but how old are you and how much do you weigh? Are your boots ok? Checked by a pro? How fit are you and do you exersice? Are your knees ok? Any prior problems or injuries? Skiing is a physical activity that can be hard on your body and limbs but not to the extent you are describing. Many times your kind of symptoms also come from beeing too uptight. Relaxing can help.
Can you isolate a movement you are doing that is causing the most pain in your knees?
Quote:
 Originally Posted by uricmu From what I understand turning your leg isn't really the correct way to go if you have shaped skis, but somehow the combination of weight and edging presses the skis to go the right way and the shape means that they will turn.
There are 4 skills that MUST be blended together to ski on contemporary OR vintage equipment:

Balance
Edging
Rotary
Pressure Management

Trying to do purely carved turns on steeper terrain is A) far beyond the abilities of an intermediate and B) still uses to some extent, although very minutely, some rotary skills.

You need to learn to steer flat skis to turn and learn to blend in the edging and pressure management skills as the terrain dictates. Carving will come...later.
Quote:
 Originally Posted by uricmu I've seen that in a few books, and then when I met the instructor I had my last two lessons with (whose actually better than some of the instructors I had over the past few years), he insisted that it's a critical skill towards balance and later turns. Also, I kill my knees going on the flats, and our local hill is full of them (and of easy trails which are closer to being flat)
Your instructor was correct. Skating will strengthen many of the moves required in contemporary skiing. It enhances edging, pressure management, long leg/short leg and directional movement (if done correctly) ie. the crossover.

The key to skating is to do it correctly, most people move side to side when skating (which is incorrect) rather than moving their center of mass forward, as in forward and in the direction of the new turn.
Quote:
 Originally Posted by Taylormatt Your instructor was correct. Skating will strengthen many of the moves required in contemporary skiing. It enhances edging, pressure management, long leg/short leg and directional movement (if done correctly) ie. the crossover. The key to skating is to do it correctly, most people move side to side when skating (which is incorrect) rather than moving their center of mass forward, as in forward and in the direction of the new turn.
Taylormatt is correct. Efficient skating moves your cm forward. However throwing your cm along the direction the non-pushing ski is heading will get you started. You can work on points for style after you learn to move yourself around at a good pace, assuming you are not trying to win a marathon skating race.
Uricmu,
It sounds like you have been keeping at this learning process for some time, and mostly on hard snow/ice. I'm no instructor, and I don't know what will solve your problems specifically, but I am a fellow traveller. I too have been learning, and have had quite a time teaching my body to do the things these people describe and that you are trying to learn, on Eastern ice. It would be so much easier to learn all this stuff if you were skiing on snow that fell from the sky daily and got groomed overnight. That way the snow would be soft, it would absorb some any bloopers, and you could stay upright and keep learning and fine tuning your balance. But you are on Eastern man-made snow that freezes up overnight and is impenetrable in the morning. For a long time I read about people looking to see if they laid "railroad tracks" in the snow. Well, where I ski no one can lay those, because the corduroy lasts till lunch, then it just kinda disappears into a 1/4 inch blurrr. I call it salt-on-formica. How is anyone supposed to learn on that stuff?

I too got frustrated by different instructors telling me different things, so I turned to books just as you have. Also I joined a ski club and followed people down the mountain who knew what they were doing. I recommend that ... it's working, by the way. It snowed this last weekend, and I laid perfect RR tracks all over the mountain. It just takes time to learn to do it. Do you have Lito Tejada-Flores' book Breakthough on the New Skis? That's an excellent one for beginner/intermediates.

What really impresses me is that your level of determination in the face of obstacles. You will succeed because of it.
Quote:
 Originally Posted by Taylormatt You need to learn to steer flat skis to turn and learn to blend in the edging and pressure management skills as the terrain dictates.
I'm not so sure about that steering flat skis statement.
IMHO, you can steer if you like but don't try to steer and carve an arc at the same time.

I find using pressure control combined with good fore-aft management and edge control to have the snow steer the ski for me is easier on the knees than steering the skis via applying torque through the bindings.
If you can steer properly, there is little to no impact on the knees. Rotate the femurs in the hip sockets and that is that. Try to twist the foot under the knee, and you have a different problem.
Quote:
 Originally Posted by LiquidFeet But you are on Eastern man-made snow that freezes up overnight and is impenetrable in the morning. For a long time I read about people looking to see if they laid "railroad tracks" in the snow. Well, where I ski no one can lay those, because the corduroy lasts till lunch, then it just kinda disappears into a 1/4 inch blurrr. I call it salt-on-formica. How is anyone supposed to learn on that stuff?
Why can't anyone lay RR tracks on that kind of a surface? Most of my days skiing are spent laying RR tracks on that kind of a surface... If you can't carve cleanly on that kind of snow there is much more wrong with your skiing than just the snow surface... no offense.
Quote:
 Originally Posted by Max_501 I'm not so sure about that steering flat skis statement.
Then you should study up on your mechanics of skiing a little more
URICMU: Rather than spending money haphazardly on books, videos, and random lessons, perhaps you might consider one of the Epicski Academies. Every coach is one of the top instructors in the country. You'll be in a small, compatible group for four days. You'll get more out of one of these than anything else available to a non-instructor. Good luck!
Quote:
 Originally Posted by empressdiver As you complete your last turn, you will flex down gradually to increase the pressure of your skis on the snow, with more pressure on your downhill or outside ski.
When you are flexing your joints, you are actually decreasing pressure.
Quote:
 Originally Posted by HeluvaSkier Why can't anyone lay RR tracks on that kind of a surface? Most of my days skiing are spent laying RR tracks on that kind of a surface... If you can't carve cleanly on that kind of snow there is much more wrong with your skiing than just the snow surface... no offense.
OK. I will trust you when you say you can do this. But how come you're not satisfied with explaining that you can do it without also putting down someone who is still learning, and happy to be doing so? Proclaim your skills loudly, but stop attacking the little guy. It's poor form.
Quote:
 Originally Posted by LiquidFeet OK. I will trust you when you say you can do this. But how come you're not satisfied with explaining that you can do it without also putting down someone who is still learning, and happy to be doing so? Proclaim your skills loudly, but stop attacking the little guy. It's poor form.
...Just trying to set the bar of low expectations a little higher. My comment has nothing to do with putting you or anyone else down. It is simple fact. I'm sorry that hearing the truth bothers you so much. There is much to learn from skiing on that kind of snow, and the ability to do so will make you a better skier on all snow. Take it or leave it...
I like hearing the truth. It's the arrogance that bothers me. You can work on your arrogance, and I'll work on my ice carving, how about that?
See Post #44.
WOW im realy confused now! Just go ski youll get better every time out. stay on top of your skis {dont lean back}. Turn simply buy lifting your inside foot a little and you will turn the direction of the foot you lifted. when you want to turn the other way push the edge down on the foot you just lifted a bit and lift the other one. you will now go that way. If you can skate and can stop on skates the way you stop on skates is the same as skiing. Realy simple stuff. All that other stuff will come onece you have the very basic turn down. You will naturaly be doing it as you get on the skis more times. : theres lots more to learn like edging a turn and so on but dont confuse your self with all this untill your are ready. Just go make some turns.
Quote:
 Originally Posted by whipper Turn simply buy lifting your inside foot a little and you will turn the direction of the foot you lifted. when you want to turn the other way push the edge down on the foot you just lifted a bit and lift the other one.

I don't even know where to start tearing this apart.
Quote:
 Originally Posted by Taylormatt I don't even know where to start tearing this apart.
Yeah, I was trying not to touch that one. Fortunately, there has been some very good advice in this thread so far.
Quote:
 Originally Posted by HeluvaSkier Yeah, I was trying not to touch that one. Fortunately, there has been some very good advice in this thread so far.
The zen approach to deep snow skiing (not Prince George B.C.) :

That approach would get him banking turns in BC snow.
Dont know if this has ever been posted on here before but check out this video, and the rest of the ones on the site. Its Bode Miller and Phil McNichole Going over all different aspects of skiing. Its defiantly worth a watch.
Quote:
 Originally Posted by BigE If you can steer properly, there is little to no impact on the knees. Rotate the femurs in the hip sockets and that is that. Try to twist the foot under the knee, and you have a different problem.
Sheesh BigE, "rotate the femurs in the hip sockets???" :

I have been skiing for 45 years and no one has ever said that to me. i don't have any idea how to consciously even do that!

That certainly is not a familiar concious move for most. If someone aks me to raise my middle finger or blink my eyes no problem!

But rotate my femurs in my hip sockets? How the hell do you do that?: DO you really think that is a helpful tip for this person?

Whipper, what the heck are you talkin' about? No liftie the inside foot, tippie the inside foot, jeez:
I'm getting a kick from the fact the poster is referencing the same wonderful snow surface I have the pleasure of enjoying every weekend. A shared field of experience always helps, and I acknowledge many of you here are challenged by the same demanding conditions at your ski area, but rarely do we have"hero snow".

Put the same skier on perfect cordoury out west with the same tool box of movement patterns and I think the learning curve is less steep.
Quote:
 Originally Posted by Atomicman Sheesh BigE, "rotate the femurs in the hip sockets???" : I have been skiing for 45 years and no one has ever said that to me. i don't have any idea how to consciously even do that! That certainly is not a familiar concious move for most. If someone aks me to raise my middle finger or blink my eyes no problem! But rotate my femurs in my hip sockets? How the hell do you do that?: DO you really think that is a helpful tip for this person? Whipper, what the heck are you talkin' about? No liftie the inside foot, tippie the inside foot, jeez:
Rotating the femurs in their hip sockets have been widely spoken of here and elswhere. Its the same as pointing your knees into the turn. Some also refer to it as knee angulation but that is a bit aquard to me since you cannot bend your knee sideways the same way as your hip/waist for instance. In Austria back in the good old days they called it losening up your knees. The drill was called "dwarf turns" where you grabbed your poles half way down and bent down as far as you could and made quick turns down an easy slope in the fall line. With modern carving skis it brings us great advantage in very quick straight passages on SL race tracks for instance. Upper level skiing though so I will not comment if its usefull for the original poster. Probably not.
Quote:
 Originally Posted by mogulmuncher When you are flexing your joints, you are actually decreasing pressure.
Excellent input by mogulmuncher. Its not surpricing that a mogul junkie steps in with such good advice since they have a pritty good grasp of when pressure increases and when it decreases. Its really very simple but for some freeking reason its not obvious to even advanced skiers. It must come from the beliefe that in skidded turns up-unweighting by extending up produces pressure loss. It does, but only when the CoM acceleration is decreased or stopped (fully extended). In carving it works a little bit different since moving the CoM up at transition and down at apex does not mean we flex our joints at apex. We lower ourselves by simply angulate at the hip.
Quote:
 Originally Posted by tdk6 Rotating the femurs in their hip sockets have been widely spoken of here and elswhere. Its the same as pointing your knees into the turn. Some also refer to it as knee angulation but that is a bit aquard to me since you cannot bend your knee sideways the same way as your hip/waist for instance. In Austria back in the good old days they called it losening up your knees. The drill was called "dwarf turns" where you grabbed your poles half way down and bent down as far as you could and made quick turns down an easy slope in the fall line. With modern carving skis it brings us great advantage in very quick straight passages on SL race tracks for instance. Upper level skiing though so I will not comment if its usefull for the original poster. Probably not.
I am not saying that this is not the physiological move or the body parts that end up engaging, but I don't think you are going to make any headway by just telling someone all you need to do is rotate your femurs in your hipsockets.
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