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Are "classic" parallels no longer taught?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quick question (posted a longer version in the beginners area):
After several confusing intermediate-level lessons, I used a book (that assumes shaped skis) and got myself through stems to what seem like open parallel turns.

I went to our local hill's ski school for an intermediate-advanced group lesson (their chart lists a whole progression to closed parallels, and only then carving). The instructor was very nice, but stated that "all this unweighing business" is old news and no longer taught and that I should focus on carving turns.

Is that current policy? new curriculum? I feel a lot safer doing parallels on steeper terrain, and think that shaped skis help even with those old-style parallel turns because after the weight transfer, the outside ski still does a nice turn once the edges dig in.
post #2 of 17
Classic unweighting is not necessary with shaped skis except in "extreme" circumstances such as having only a ski length or two of space for a turn on steep terrain or needing to extract the skis from some gooey or crusted snow to be able to reorient them. With modern equipment, unweighting per se is wasted energy.
post #3 of 17
The unweighting you seem to be talking about is about "making" the skis turn. What you want to do with the shaped skis is get out of the way and "let" the skis turn.
post #4 of 17
at bigger hills its still taught, at snowbird we still demo and teach this way. The flexion and extentsion isnt huge, its no where near what it use to be, but its still there. Before you guys flame this is coming from the nstionsl demo team head coach, I would trust him over someone from a 400 vertical foot hill.

at smaller hill with little terrain varations its seems it has gone the way of the straight ski.

there is no right or wrong in skiing, flexion and extentions is good skill set to have but something you dont allways have to use.

Also the austrian's still teach and demo a massive flexion and extenstion in thier open parrallel.

also only focusing on carving is a bunch of BS too, limiting yourself to one type of turn is going to limit yourself as a skier.
post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the replies, guys.

So in other words I'm developing the wrong habits, or are they not difficult to break? I am guessing that over very gentle terrain my turns are probably closer to carving since I don't actually apply a turning force and since I do pass through a flat.

From looking at the instructor though, the whole carving technique seems to me to be a lot less safe than the kind of turns where you come in from a traverse, use your pole, change edges, etc. Since you have to edge both skis about the same time (rather than focus on the outside and let the inside follow) it seems incredibly easy to mess something up, and either not begin the turn, or fall over and end up checking whether your helmet can hold against a tree. If the area is rutted or not groomed, it also doesn't seem to make much sense. And what do you do about moguls? My understanding (though I haven't tried), is that you use similar flexion, estension to turn on them; I don't see how one can carve their way through a mogul field.

Also, the instructor told us that if we carve, we should try and make sure that before we begin our turn, the inside ski should be slightly behind the external ski; it makes sense to me geometrically since the inside ski would make overall a shorter radius, but is that indeed standard practice?
post #6 of 17
Yes and No... The large up down weight unweight movement is no longer neccissarry or desirable. It's still good to know as Bushwacker said. I also agree that carving is overrated. For me it's about turn shape and skill blending, aka "The Shmear". The initiation move is now more lateral than vertical. Forward and across the skis. Release and engage both edges simultaniously. The ski must go flat as it travelles to the new edge regardless of how the edge is changed. It may not be flat for long, but it will be flat. Flexion and extension are still important. I know three ways to change edges... Flexion, Extension, and changing in the air. Tactically the air change is usefull in some situations. I takes less energy and is generally more efficient to keep the skis on the snow as it provides a greater opputunity for speed control. It is possible to carve through the moguls. I don't think that its the best way. Most high end skiers don't carve all the time even though it may apear that they do because of the round turn shape and the fluidity of their line. Soften the edge set in bumps for more speed control.
post #7 of 17
Down, plant the pole, hup! Heck of a hard habit to break, but a great skill to have when you need it.
post #8 of 17
I answered this over in the other thread. All skills are critical .... I still taught hopping (weight & unweight) .... as well as skids and schmearing.

Core technique should be still built around basic edging/movement .... the rest is garnish.
post #9 of 17
Thread Starter 
So what do you do with the poles if you're carving then?
The old way, I put the inside pole just prior to switching the edges.

But with carving, I seem to go through a flat anyway, I'm not sure if a pole plant would make sense. The only use I've found for them is to swing one of them backwards, which seems to turn my upper body and somehow drags the rest of the legs with them, putting me on the correct edge to start the turn. And I'm sure that's a horrible horrible habit.
post #10 of 17
Get away from "pole planting" and concentrate on "pole touching".

The pole down hill is extended out and in essence ... is the point that you will be skiing toward.

Your poles should be both comfortably out in front of you till that point that you reach with the down hill pole and into the new turn, some folks will then "retract" that pole (I think this is what you are getting at), and it will end up "dragged" behind you.

The cure for this is the "pole punch" .... reach out and "plant or touch" and then .... like a boxer ... punch out in front of you .. with a light jab in order to break the habit and get the proper feeling.
post #11 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by uricmu View Post

So in other words I'm developing the wrong habits, or are they not difficult to break?

Any habit can be hard to break. As skiing goes up unweighting is fairly benign. In the long run it is better if you can make things a choice to match terrain rather then a habit you need to make the turn

Quote:
Originally Posted by uricmu View Post


Since you have to edge both skis about the same time (rather than focus on the outside and let the inside follow) it seems incredibly easy to mess something up, and either not begin the turn, or fall over and end up checking whether your helmet can hold against a tree.
Changing edges sequentially as you describe it really has little to do with "unweighting" the skis. To the extent that you are turning one ski before the other you are still making a stem rather then a parallel turn. It does feel more secure to hold onto the old outside ski (the downhill ski at the start of the turn) as you start turning the new outside ski (the uphill ski at the start of the turn) and this is the central problem with skiing...Your head is trying to kill you. As long as I am still holding onto the uphill edge of the downhill ski as I start my new turn, I feel like I have better speed control, unfortunately as long as I am on that edge I can't turn that ski downhill. Which means that my uphill ski has to go out around my downhill ski to initiate the new turn; which in turn means I am forced to make a longer radius turn; which means I pick up more speed; which means I have to hit the breaks and hold onto the the old turn as I start the next new turn; and so on down the hill. A stem or sequential turn can be very useful in some snow or terrain situations; but again try to get to where it is a choice to use it, not the only way you can turn
Notice how you walk. If you walk in a straight line then start to turn left you will start the turn (if you are like 95% of the population) by planting your right foot then turning your left, all the while shifting your weight to stand on the left side of both feet (admittedly the shift is more noticeable in ski boots). Practice turning by shifting weight onto your uphill big toe as you tip/twist your downhill little toe down the hill at the same time. It's a big chunk to learn, but you took some time learning to walk too. As it gets easier you will start to see how you can control your speed with the shape of your turns, rather then by holding the brakes on at the transition between turns.

Quote:
Originally Posted by uricmu View Post
If the area is rutted or not groomed, it also doesn't seem to make much sense.
Consider this. If I don't have both skis on the same edge I am making two different turns at the same time. As I start a left turn I have my right ski making a left turn, but my left ski is still wanting to turn right. If I hit a rut or snow pile that ski will deflect right, perhaps crossing my tips, or otherwise tripping me up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by uricmu View Post
So what do you do with the poles if you're carving then?
If I don't need them to enhance the turn I'm not using them. Hands are still up, and reaching down the hill but on most cruisers just swinging the pole with out a touch at all is more then enough to maintain rhythm through the turns. I find that we're a real eye/hand coordination society, As such if there is something in my hands I forget about my feet. Ski without your poles and you may find it easier to feel whats happening beneath your feet.
post #12 of 17

How to change edges?

Quote:
Changing edges sequentially as you describe it really has little to do with "unweighting" the skis. To the extent that you are turning one ski before the other you are still making a stem rather then a parallel turn.
Edge change should happen in the length of your ski. I struggled with the verbal instructions "release the pressure on your outside ski, roll the foot to the little toe......" it was still hard for me to keep both skis on the snow, i found two things that helped me get it.

Looking in the direction of the new turn and tip or point your new inside knee in the direction you want to turn. Moving my knee so slightly puts my foot on the little toe edge, maybe the motion isn't supposed to be taught from the knee down but that worked for me.
post #13 of 17
uricmu,

I still teach the skills that lead to open track parallel. There is a pole plant involved, but no upward unweighting. The movement is diagionally across the skis to change edges and then guiding both tips through the turn. From there, more dynamic movements can be added for more carving of both skis.

RW
post #14 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmy View Post
Edge change should happen in the length of your ski. I struggled with the verbal instructions "release the pressure on your outside ski, roll the foot to the little toe......" it was still hard for me to keep both skis on the snow, i found two things that helped me get it.

Looking in the direction of the new turn and tip or point your new inside knee in the direction you want to turn. Moving my knee so slightly puts my foot on the little toe edge, maybe the motion isn't supposed to be taught from the knee down but that worked for me.

Allowing your hips to begin moving diagonally toward the new turn as you're beginning to roll off the edges used in the previous turn makes keeping some pressure on the new inside ski's outside edge much easier.
post #15 of 17
I like to just think about making the least amount of movement possible to move my skis so that they'll create a new platform for the upcoming arc. I play with various movements to measure their effect, and use the ones that create the sensations that I enjoy the most.
post #16 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by ssh View Post
I like to just think about making the least amount of movement possible to move my skis so that they'll create a new platform for the upcoming arc. I play with various movements to measure their effect, and use the ones that create the sensations that I enjoy the most.
Alf "just enough not a bit more"

also would like to add though that the most efficienct movements arent allways the safest or most consisentent way to to get the hill.
post #17 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kneale Brownson View Post
Allowing your hips to begin moving diagonally toward the new turn as you're beginning to roll off the edges used in the previous turn makes keeping some pressure on the new inside ski's outside edge much easier.
Thanks Kneale, I played with this on green slope, started skiing straight down and moved the left hip and then the right.I found i was able to control my direction by doing not much more than this, turning without making a turn if that makes any sense?
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