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Upper Body and skiing.

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
I have a couple of questions for Z experts here..

Somewhere along the line, I remember hearing that you should keep your upper body pointing down the hill at all costs. This is what I try try to do. Is this correct and wouldnt this actually be counter?

This I find works for short turns down the fall line and steep pitches where speed control is key. But if I want to do some longer radius turns on groomers, I find that at the end of the turn, my skis have run in front and lo and behold I am in the back seat. This is despite, bringing my poles out in front, ready for the plant. Should my upper-body follow the line of my skis in longer radius turns instead of trying to keep them pointed down the fall line?
post #2 of 6
If your upper body is too countered (turned toward downhill) in long radius turns, you end up with the uphill foot too far forward and the result is the next turn starts with your center of mass behind the new outside foot.

You are correct that you want your torso facing downhill in short radius turns. In longer turns, you want your shoulders squared with your ski tips (uphill side slightly ahead). I usually let my feet/skis turn just a bit more than the torso right at the end of longer turns. That results in my skiing into a more countered position.

If you reach too far forward (toward the ski tips) with your hands, you tend to stick out your backside to balance. I like to make sure my elbows are in front of the midline of my rib cage and bent so that my hands are in front of and slightly more apart from my elbows.
post #3 of 6
Like Kneale says, we want to see those complimentary angles in our posture. In longer carvier turns we want to see effective inside half lead. one thing to keep in mind in longer turns is that our frame of reference is really the direction of travel of the skis rather than the fall line. In short turns the direction of travel is more tied to the fall line than in longer turns, so in short turns where the direction of travel of the CoM is more directly down the hill the fall line works as a reference. In longer turns, with respect to our reference for counter, the direction of travel of the Com is more tied to the skis, so direction of travel of the skis is a more appropriate reference for the right amount of counter.

As the turn developes, our countering movements should be around the outside stance leg and should effectively manage our balance to the forces and direct pressure to the sweet spot of the outside ski, moving our CoM forward over the ski as the turn progresses. So the inside hip should swing or counter forward as the turn progresses, but this should develope smoothly and continuously throughout the turn. Don't forget to raise the inside as it moves forward into counter to the outside of the turn as well. This will allow nice angles to develope as you move inside the turn and flex the inside leg.

I would carefull using the inside tip lead as a reference for the appropriate amount of counter, because it is all too easy to let the inside ski get ahead of where it should be. To help with keeping the inside foot and ski where it needs to be, try giving some direction to the inside leg flexing as you move inside turn. If you flex the inside leg with the idea that the heel should move up towards the inside hip (rather than just letting it move forward), then you should maintain enough tension in the inside leg to keep the foot and ski back in place under the inside hip.
post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the info Kneale and Ric. Ill try this out, the next time I am out there skiing.
post #5 of 6
Also, keep in mind that counter isn't static. For longer radius turns, I like to counter very early so that my upper body is actually pointing uphill a bit as the new turn starts.
post #6 of 6
Many know that we should counter, but don't consider the reason why.

Try this. Stand with your right foot lifted a bit off the floor. Rotate that leg to the left. Now counter rotate your hips to the right and notice how the leg is brought back straight. Counter rotation of the hips takes up the rotational ability of the hip socket and helps the ski tail maintain grip. Note that counter isn't a twist of the spine, it's a twist of the hips.

"Counter rotation" is an old ski technique that is very different from the way I'm using the expression here. I agree with what's written above except Ric's suggestion that the counter increase as the turn progresses. I feel that the amount of counter that is needed is needed soon, not progressively.

I prefer to counter by bringing the inside hip forward as Ric recommends. Some folks bring the outside hip back, and that's OK as long as it doesn't put those folks in the back seat. I also strongly agree with Ric's comments about tip lead and inside foot position. It is both possible and very effective to push the inside hip forward while pulling the inside foot back. Max's early counter results in an exhilarating run when all the parts work together as they should (that's not Max...his hair isn't that long).

The other big benefit of counter is that it assists angulation. The upper body needs to tip towards the outside of the turn. Without counter, we're using the rather weak oblique abdominal muscles. With counter (from the hips) the stronger frontal abs are brought into action.
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