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Turning, downhill ski too far behind lead ski

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
I was told that when I turn, my downhill ski is too far back. The instructor said there should be some gap, but not that much. He suggest pulling the downhill ski thru, or pulling the uphill backwards.

It feels unnatural. Any ideas? Do you know why this is important?

Here is what i mean:


Suggested Correct Form When turning

Improper Form When turning
post #2 of 4
I presume from your diagram that you are calling the "downhill" ski the one that will become the downhill ski at the end of the turn? It is the uphill ski at the start of the turn?

If so, you only want as much lead as necessary to maintain a strong uphill side (uphill foot, knee hip and shoulder all slightly ahead). If you push the uphill foot ahead (a common practice) too much, when you start your turn you will be behind that foot, not contacting the cuff of the boot with your shin.

Here's a good test. Stop at the side of a hill. Stand on both uphill edges. Put a little weight on the uphill foot and slide it back and forth. Feel where the pressure at the little toe side of the uphill foot moves as you slide the foot forward and then slide it back. When your uphill foot is far enough forward that you feel a little pressure on the calf, you can't feel much pressure on the side of the foot behind your little toe. As you pull the foot back, with a little pressure on the shin at the cuff, you can feel some pressure on the little toe side of the foot just behind the little toe. That's where you want to feel a little pressure--shin and just behind the little toe. When you start a new turn, you can continue to feel pressure on that cuff. If the foot is slid too far ahead, when you start a new turn, you will end up in the back seat.
post #3 of 4

What you are describing is called "tip lead". Do you really want to know what unnatural feels like? Try holding your ski tips in your "downhill" position all the time, especially when traveling across the fall line. Yikes - that doesn't work! So that says we need to have some tip lead in our skiing and there should be a change in the lead foot when changing the direction of travel. We know that ideally we want to make these kinds of movements smooth so that once we hit the maximum amount of tip lead, we gradually start reducing it until we hit the downhill position (zero tip lead) and then increasing the other tip lead until it maxes out. A lot of times, the instruction to pull one foot back is simply meant to reduce the maximum amount of tip lead. But if you interrupt the smooth flow of back and forth described above, it will feel awkward and lead to jerky skiing (yup - there's that unnatural feeling again).

A good rule of thumb is that we want to see the angles of the horizontal lines across the hips (i.e. the belt line) and the shoulders match up with the angle of a line drawn between the ski tips. We want this for 2 reasons:
-to help facilitate tipping of the feet into the next turn
-to help anticipate being in a balanced position against the turning forces (in essence, the upper body is taking a shortcut path down the hill before the skis start accelerating downhill so that the skis don't get ahead of the upper body).

In general, when the lines don't match up or when tip lead gets too large, we're probably turning the upper body too much and we're probably getting too much difference in the fore/aft pressure pressure point between the skis (as Kneale points out). When this happens it's going to be harder to get the skis to behave the same way and harder to stay in balance.
post #4 of 4
Another way to think about what has already been written is that if the feet turn below the hip sockets an appropriate amount of tip lead will occur. In other words keep the arch of the inside foot directly beneath the inside hip. The lead that occurs is result of the feet being directly below the hips, both inside and outside. While this may seem complex it is really pretty easy to do once you know how it feels. My advice would be to take a lesson with one of our pros around the NY area.
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