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Confused (again) about turns

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I consider myself a low intermediate.
After giving up on too many conflicting advice during lessons, I figured I would just try to learn things myself for a while.

Using an old but good book which doesn't try to teach any special system, I got a general idea about the progression in classic skiing: snowplow turns, stem turns, and eventually closed parallels.

I think that I've got the general idea of parallels right: I am traversing with skis edges at an angle with the fall line, flex, plant the pole and do a push that helps me change edges and weight, and then dig my outside ski deeper as I steer to finish the turn. I've been comfortable doing that for nice arcs on intermediate terrain (blacks at seven springs, my "home hill). I knew it's not "carving", but figured it's an important step. The book I was using assumes shaped skis and argues that the shape takes effect when you are in the steering phase to help you turn.

In order to then improve on that, I went to the ski school office to get an advanced-intermediate lesson; their menu goes through like 8 lessons from absolute beginner to some advanced parallel, and then carving. The instructor, however, would have none of it. He was very nice, but stated that the whole "unweighing" thing is now gone and all turns have to be nicely carved with pressure on both skis, gradual flexing and all that stuff.

Is that true or is this just fanaticism? I haven't figured out carving yet though I occasionally get close to it on a gentle terrain, but I enjoy and feel safer doing my pseudo-parallels when it gets steeper. Am I just developing horrible habits?
post #2 of 17
It's really very simple to ski on groomed runs or other hard snow with shaped skis. All you have to do is tip your skis onto their edges, right or left, and ride those edges while balancing along them as they scribe a curve. The more you tip them the tighter they curve.
post #3 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by uricmu View Post
I think that I've got the general idea of parallels right: I am traversing with skis edges at an angle with the fall line, flex, plant the pole and do a push that helps me change edges and weight, and then dig my outside ski deeper as I steer to finish the turn.

Am I just developing horrible habits?
YES.
post #4 of 17
NO!

Think of the whole turn phenomena as one continual action and not as a series of segments that will somehow come together by magic. Where does one turn start and the other begin is not quite the correct mindset.

Some of the things you allude to are pretty "old school" and so am I; being old is not the issue.

We don't us a pole plant to "weight and then unweight" ..... in an down and up fashion .... as you describe. What you describe, use to be the action used to make the skis "light" so we could twist or pivot them around.

We no longer use a pole plant .... we use a pole touch .... that's right, just reach down the hill and touch the snow as you roll the ankles over and into that new turn.

But ..... as stated ..... it may be a new turn .... but think of it in a series of fluid arcs where there is no clear definition between one turn and the next.

The skis are dumb and will do exactly what the engineers designed them to do. When you move the body in the correct direction (via the pole touch), and smoothly roooooooooolllll on the edges ..... they will turn.

Trust this.

PS .... and if you are out there hopping like a freaking bunny .... stop ... it drives me nuts!
post #5 of 17

Turns

I don't know if this is old school or not but have you seen Lito Tejada's video on learning to ski? Personally,
seeing something done is helpful for me but I really need someone to demo it in front of me so that I can ultimately get the feeling of what needs to happen...then I can describe this to the instructor and check to see if I've understood....although the instructor can see whether I've understood right away. Once I actually understand, then all the books/write-ups, etc. make sense to me....but personally I can't get there on reading alone (although every bit of info is helpful AS LONG AS IT DOESN'T CONFLICT...which can definitely happen. In that case, my advice is find an instructor with a great reputation that you feel you can work well with and follow that person's advice.
post #6 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yuki View Post
We no longer use a pole plant .... we use a pole touch .... that's right, just reach down the hill and touch the snow as you roll the ankles over and into that new turn.
Wait, I'm not sure I understood that one. Touch them down the hill? Like ahead of you?

I was looking at people carving today while on the lift (Elk Mountain, had a lot of time to watch from the lift...) and it seemed that everyone's poles never touched in front of them, only behind them?

Do you swing the poles to initiate the turn or help one initiate at all? It seems difficult to just roll the ankles.
post #7 of 17
Hi uricmu!

Just as you start to decide to tip your edges toward the new direction that you intend to go, you should touch the pole laterally, down the hill in the direction of your new turn. This lateral movement, directs your hips as well as your center of mass toward you new turn to make the skis turn more effeciently and smoothly.

Hope that this helps!
post #8 of 17
I like to hold my hands in front, just so I can glimpse them in the bottom of my field of vision. I try to let the basket of my outside pole swing around with the turn I'm in and then I flick it out toward downhill just as I'm ready to change edges for the new turn. The pole's presence makes it easier for me to allow my hips to move downhill into the new turn, as Snowmiser describes. It serves sort of as a third point of contact with the snow. I try to coordinate the pole touch with the actual application of new edges.
post #9 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by uricmu View Post
I was looking at people carving today while on the lift (Elk Mountain, had a lot of time to watch from the lift...) and it seemed that everyone's poles never touched in front of them, only behind them?
I am no expert, but chiming in with my two cents here. One obstacle encountered by folks self-educating by watching others is that they don't know who they are suppose to be watching, and what they are suppose to be seeing. So in emulating someone they consider an expert skier, they often end up with less than optimal technique. Equally frequently, in trying to copy a movement, they are not aware of the kinetic chain of events that make such a movement possible or beneficial. I hope I am making sense here. All I am trying to say is, for someone in your shoes, to enlist in a couple of private sessions from a fully-certified instructor, who can introduce you to the core fundamentals, and what to look for and what not to mimic.
post #10 of 17
Well In my opinion there is nothing wrong with skiing old school. There is nothing wrong with knowing how to unweight your skis. But it is also very fun skiing shorter sidecut skis rolling them from one edge to other creating all kinds gforce. But the reality is you will often find yourself skiing the one shape the ski was designed to do. So I guess what I am saying is try and learn both ways, in the end.

Take sunday for example, I skied most of the day on a pair of 208cm kastle rx 12 from the 80's. Part way through the day I switced to my 198cm p40 fl energyrail's did five runs big gs rail carves both skis hooked up, it was fun. But I thought hey those kastle were fun so I locked the volkls back on the rack and went old school. I am 25 so I learned to carve first, but should have stayed conventional a little longer. anyway that is more advice keep reading that book.

PS. If old school to you is skiing with your skis slamed together, wiggling your butt. that's not what I was refering to.
post #11 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by energyrail View Post
Take sunday for example, I skied most of the day on a pair of 208cm kastle rx 12 from the 80's. Part way through the day I switced to my 198cm p40 fl energyrail's did five runs big gs rail carves both skis hooked up, it was fun. But I thought hey those kastle were fun so I locked the volkls back on the rack and went old school.
Just wondering. 198cm P40's are not old school?
post #12 of 17
Very interesting. Last Saturday I skied my old-school Kästle 208cm National Team SG skis and my Fischer WC SCs. I really enjoyed rolling onto the edges and arcing nice High-g-force gs turns without unweighting. I enjoyed carving some shorter turns on the SCs too.
post #13 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snowmiser View Post
Hi uricmu!

Just as you start to decide to tip your edges toward the new direction that you intend to go, you should touch the pole laterally, down the hill in the direction of your new turn. This lateral movement, directs your hips as well as your center of mass toward you new turn to make the skis turn more effeciently and smoothly.

Hope that this helps!
So what's the relative timing on this? Do you do the touch, and only then start the tipping? It seems to me that a lateral pole touch (how much should one extend?) would place momentum on the entire body that would then cause the tipping to start; but isn't the whole point of carving to start turns with the lower body only and not let the upper body be the trigger?
post #14 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by josseph View Post
Just wondering. 198cm P40's are not old school?
You miss read, I didn't say they were. but the kastle's are,

Re-read " I put the p40 back on the rack and went old school"

Anyway the the kastle's were fun.
post #15 of 17
Just cause they are long doesn't mean they are old school. Old-School skis are straight.
post #16 of 17
old school skis..
post #17 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by uricmu View Post
So what's the relative timing on this? Do you do the touch, and only then start the tipping? It seems to me that a lateral pole touch (how much should one extend?) would place momentum on the entire body that would then cause the tipping to start; but isn't the whole point of carving to start turns with the lower body only and not let the upper body be the trigger?
The timing of the pole touch generally is to have it accompany the edge change. For me, that means my hips have moved far enough into the turn that the skis are flat on the snow surface and I'm touching the pole tip to the snow as I roll onto the new edges. My "extension" of the outside leg of the new turn is made to maintain contact with the snow, not to push me into the turn. At the same time, the new inside leg is continuing to flex at both the ankle and knee so that my hips can continue moving into the turn, increasing edging until I decide to reverse the process once more.
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