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Drills for finishing a turn

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
I had a really fun day playing in powder (!!) in Ontario (!!) last weekend. There was enough so that I could tackle some steeper terrain and throw my heart over my boots.

I had a few interesting "click!" moments where I finally got the idea of flattening the skis in order to extend (rather than the reverse), and was working on trying to lock that feeling down.

But here's a comment that I've been receiving consistently from the instructors at our ski club all season: I need to finish my turn more. The top of the turn is looking pretty good, but then I don't quite finish "enough", and suddenly the top of the next turn... not as good.

Are there drills I can try to get skills to more actively finish the turn?

-d
post #2 of 28
delta888,

When I think of finishing the turn I think of consistent speed and movement forward through each turn. If you are accelerating after every turn you did not finish it. So for a good drill if you want to call it that, just continue turning until you feel the skis start to slow down and then move to the next turn. This is true for whatever turn shape you are trying to accomplish.------Wigs
post #3 of 28
D,

Here's an indoor drill you can do at home:
Stand about arms length away from a wall with your hips and shoulders facing the wall and your feet at a 15 degree angle. Now move your hips and shoulders forward towards the wall (move enough so that you need to use your hand on the wall for support). As you do this pay attention to where the pressure shifts on your feet. Now try this again at 30 and 45 degree foot angles. You should notice a big difference in the "edge pressure" that is created. Try the exercise again but align your shoulders and hips to your feet. You'll notice a lot less edge pressure. The moral here is that when you don't finish your turns so that your skis are more than 15 degrees out of the fall line and finish your turns in a "countered" position (i.e. with your hips and shoulders facing to the outside of the old turn), then you will be getting a lot less edge pressure to use for rounding out the top of the next turn. For extra credit, as you get to larger angles move to a position in between the wall and the foot angle that is more diagonally forward instead of laterally from the feet to the wall (e.g. at 90 degree, moving towards the wall would be moving laterally).

To take these movements onto the slopes, it's easiest to start with a series of carved traverses where you dip down the hill and finish up the hill to a stop. As you make your dips larger and larger, you'll need to counter to stay in balance if you want to keep your downhill shoulder low (otherwise you'd be leaning into the turn). Once your dips are large enough to have an uphill component of the finish to be longer than 30 feet, you can start your next turn instead of coming to a stop. If you use the forward movement that we practiced at home above while you are finishing your old turn going uphill, then the "diagonally forward" (aka "fore-agonal") will have you moving your hips laterally across the fall line. This is much easier to do than trying to do this move down the fall line.

Once you develop some muscle memory for this movement, you can try making shorter radius, more down the fall line turns and bring those movements into them. Eventually even your short radius straight down the fall line skiing will have the same edge pressure feeling as in the at home exercise above. Even in short radius turns you need to get the skis out of the fall line. Ooops - that's the same thing as saying "finish your turns".
post #4 of 28
Thread Starter 
This makes a lot of sense. I need to extend my awareness of not just my speed, but my acceleration....

I used to be terrified of travelling at anything faster than a near-snowplow braking speed, and I've gotten over that. But now I can't seem to tell if I'm accelerating or not. I *think* I'm skiing at a consistent speed, but I'm told that I'm not -- I'm not taking the speed down enough.

When we're on a lift, sometimes I'll point to another skier and ask -- "Okay, am I finishing more than that, or do I look like that?" and generally speaking, what I think I'm doing is... well, not nearly as much as I think I'm doing.

I know that I'm much better at feeling my acceleration in large- to medium-radius turns on blue terrain. It's either when: (1) I try to tighten the radius; (2) I move to steeper terrain; that I end up judging things inaccurately.

Hmm.
post #5 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
and your feet at a 15 degree angle
Okay, stupid question. By this you mean that the angle between the soles of my feet and the ground are 15 degrees, right? (Not that I've rotated my femurs in the ball socket so that my feet are 15 degrees "turned out".)

Or, to ask this another way, are my feet pointing towards 12 o'clock, but on the sides of my soles? Or are they pointed at 1 o'clock, and flat on the ground?

Trying to visualize this....

-d
post #6 of 28
Keep your feet flat on the ground until you do the move, then they will roll onto edge. Facing the wall your feet would be at 12 o'clock. 15 degrees would be turning your feet to 11:30 while keeping your shoulders at 12. 30 degrees would be 11:00. 60 degrees = 10:00. 90 degrees = 9:00 (ouch - I don't bend that way)
post #7 of 28
Thread Starter 
Now I'm glad I asked, because that's not what I thought you meant.

So when I move my hips and shoulders forward, I assume I move them in the 12 o'clock direction (down the fall line) rather than in the direction of my feet (not enough counter).
post #8 of 28
For the exercise, yes, move your hips to the 12:00 position.

For real skiing, as the feet approach 9:00, the forward movement is more like towards 10:30 than 12. These numbers aren't exact and things can change with different snow conditions and different intents. The purpose of this exercise is to show you how much more power you can have in your next turns if you finish your previous ones. It may not always be what you want or need, but it's a good tool to have in the toolkit and is useful most of the time.
post #9 of 28
Not finishing the turn and thus carrying a little speed to the next and a little more to the next turn, etc., is one of the major problems for many skiers and speed control is not there.

I think why this happens is that the skier is afraid of slowing down too much and not being able to link the next turn, but that is exactly what you should try to do.

At the end of the turn, before you try to start the next turn, come around enough until you have slowed and are sure you don't have enough speed to carry you into the next linked turn, and THEN initiate the next one, you'll be surprised that it is not only possible but actually easy.

Give it a try next time out, you don't really need all that speed. I think of it this way: as I start my first turn I will accelerate through the fall line/middle of the turn and start to slow at the finish and I will resist the temptation to start my next turn until I am going the speed the turn started, then I repeat that all the way to the bottom of the slope. Do this and you will note that your last turn is at the same speed as your first one.

Speed control through turn shape is what the pros here advocate, and that can only be done by finishing your turns.

Good luck.

.....Ott
post #10 of 28

Thanks, great tip!

post #11 of 28

Sometime I have the kids struggling to finish a turn do what I call "The Up the Hill Drill."

 

On a moderate pitch, set two brushes. one on skier's left and one on right about 50 yards apart vertically.  Head straight down the hill and turn around the brush HOLDING THE CARVE as long as possible until you head back UP the hill.  

 

This is a truly "finished turn"  

 

In the right snow conditions on SL skis, you can sometimes make this a LOOP drill where you hold the carve until you make a complete @20m circle and head back down the hill.  Then do it the other way.  

 

Otherwise the turn is not truly "finished" until the skis are almost perpendicular to the fall line

post #12 of 28

TheRusty is talking about getting the feet/skis turned left (10:00 or whatever) while the body is pointed at 12:00.  

Ott and Wiggs are talking about turning so far across the hill and maybe even somewhat uphill that you almost stall out.

Pat is talking about carving a loop/circle.  (Wow!  I wish I could do that.)

 

They are all talking about the same thing, more or less -- turning your skis all the way across the hill while skiing down.

@delta888, do you know how to get your skis to do this?

 

One thing that works real well for completing turns is to keep manually turning the uphill ski more than the downhill ski.  Said another way, at the end of your turns, point the tip of your uphill ski uphill.  While doing this, temporarily ignore the downhill ski.  It will feel like you are turning that uphill ski more radically than your downhill ski.  The feeling is deceptive.  Putting your focus on turning the uphill ski waay uphill can bring your turns around and complete them.

 

There are some other things that might help you complete your turns effectively.

--You might be turning your upper body along with your skis, so that when they are pointed left, your shoulders and head are also pointed left.  Do you do this?  TheRusty was describing how to turn the feet independently of the upper body.  Do that; it's real important.

--You might also be leaning your whole body inside the turn, aka banking your turns.  Do you do this?  Keep your upper body upright, not banked.   There will be a sideways bend at your hips.  This will bring enormous benefits.

 

All these things will bring you added control of your skis and help you shape your turns better.

post #13 of 28

IMO  good skiers can round out...finish their turns.    Many skiers can wiggle down the fall line, even carving those wiggles but what differentiates the truly proficient skier is the ability to round out those turns without washing out and losing the end of the turn and then to establish the new high "C" carve in the next direction.   Without getting into too much detail at this time...balance on your edges, keep tipping and maintain your counter through the end of the turn.      YM 

post #14 of 28

At the top of the turn we have gravity pulling us downhill and centrifugal force pulling us somewhat uphill (or side hill).  At the bottom of the turn both gravity and centrifugal force are pulling the same way, downhill.  We need to handle the additional forces in order to finish the turn correctly.  I increase the angles I'm making to the snow.  Greater angulation, more counter (max counter!), more ski edge angle.  Some bend both knees, but that's hard work.  It is only with these increased angles (or a lot of muscular work) that one can round the ski turn uphill.

 

As always, the turn must be started correctly.  The radius of the new turn needs to be established before the skis point down the fall line.  The body needs to be inside the skis before that point.  Do this and increase the angles as the turn progresses.  Easy turn finish.  Then, relax your legs to release, and turn the other way.  Works great in powder.  Both skis pop up to the surface, or at least part way up, flattened to the snow, ready to tip over the other way to make the next turn.  Same thing, increase the angles at that turn progresses.

post #15 of 28

"Finish your turns";  one my most disliked expressions in ski instruction.  

post #16 of 28

Finishing your turns slows you down, and provides a fun ride if you like roller coasters.

post #17 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick View Post
 

"Finish your turns";  one my most disliked expressions in ski instruction.  

Totally agree. 

post #18 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick View Post
 

"Finish your turns";  one my most disliked expressions in ski instruction.  

Give me a term like better.   Round out your turns?   Put your back on the gate?   YM

post #19 of 28

It seems your concept of the TURN SHAPE isn't fully developed.  IMO this is where more problems exist in skiing but also the most ignored area in ski instruction. I believe it is an area of study unto itself. 

 

I do not like to think about turn shape in terms of mechanics. That is, mechanics are much a RESULT of executing one's concept of the turn shape (of course varying, dependent on one's level of development), not the other way around. I like to think of it in terms of  how musicians and artists view their endeavors. The musician, before he puts a finger to his instrument or the singer takes a breath he knows the sound he is trying to make. Then all the physics and mechanics somehow magically do almost all that is needed to produce those sounds. The artist has in his mind's eye what he wants to appear on the canvas. Then his hands go about creating that vision. Skiing is no different. You need to develop ability to know what a good turn shape looks like and try to guide your skis through the path that you have previsualized. 

 

I suggest whenever you're standing on the slope, riding the chair lift, or watch videos,  study different skiers, examine their turn shapes and how it contributes to (or detracts from) the quality of their skiing. Try to identify what looks good in the best skiers. Make it a full blown study and focus.  Also identify those skiers who look like they are making the right "moves' but whose skiing still looks terrible.  Find skiers whose skiing you admire and try to stay in their tracks (being careful to stay within your ability). 

 

If you focus on this one area I think you will be pleasantly surprised how your overall skiing develops. 

 

Good luck. 

post #20 of 28

Try to complete the golden circle.. a full 360 degree carved turn up and around then back down the fall line.  It is very difficult.  Few can pull it off.  Trying it (both ways) will work wonders for finishing regular turns though. 

post #21 of 28
When doing 360 carves make sure the run is clear. Going back up the hill is not something ppl expect. One of my favorite drills.
post #22 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by yogaman View Post
 

Give me a term like better.   Round out your turns?   Put your back on the gate?   YM

I've heard from so many people how the expression "Finish your turns"  confused them.  It's because all it says literally is to bring your turns to a completion, it doesn't reference at all when/where to finish them as part of the shaping of the turn.  They're left thinking, "but I am finishing my turns"?

 

The best way to get the idea across is to use the degree of turn concept.  With a quick picture in the snow explanation of the concept, the student knows exactly what shape turn the teacher is requesting they make.  Takes about 15 seconds to explain, and from then on the teacher can easily describe the exact turn shape they want the student to make, for any drill they wish to employ.  It's such a time saving and great skill developing verbal tool.  

 

post #23 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick View Post

The best way to get the idea across is to use the degree of turn concept.  With a quick picture in the snow explanation of the concept, the student knows exactly what shape turn the teacher is requesting they make.  Takes about 15 seconds to explain, and from then on the teacher can easily describe the exact turn shape they want the student to make, for any drill they wish to employ.  It's such a time saving and great skill developing verbal tool.  

 

 

Exactly. 

 

 

A lot of instructors use the concept of turn shape as a CORRECTIVE TOOL.   In my lessons I use turn shape as a PRIMARY SKILL. Turn shape is the "WHAT" of skiing.  Mechanics are the "HOW".   I strongly believe that if you know what you are trying to do, it becomes much easier to figure out how to do it.  As I said in on of my early posts,  many times simply by correcting my students' concept of turn shape many of the mechanical issues go away. The skier who shapes his turns properly is less prone to rush the turns, less prone to improper displacement and "linked recoveries".  It is then so much easier to blend rotary and edging skills because a good turn shape aids the transition.  A poor turn shape fights both the design of the ski and mother nature. And as Rick pointed out, it takes 15 seconds to explain.  Following that explanation it is simple to ask a student to focus on shaping one part of the turn (or another) better. 

 

I believe that turn shape is the most important thing in skiing. If you don't believe me, the next time you ride the chairlift, watch the skiers. Do you see ANY *GOOD* skiers who do not have a good turn shape?  I rest my case. 

post #24 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick View Post
 

I've heard from so many people how the expression "Finish your turns"  confused them.  It's because all it says literally is to bring your turns to a completion, it doesn't reference at all when/where to finish them as part of the shaping of the turn.  They're left thinking, "but I am finishing my turns"?

 

The best way to get the idea across is to use the degree of turn concept.  With a quick picture in the snow explanation of the concept, the student knows exactly what shape turn the teacher is requesting they make.  Takes about 15 seconds to explain, and from then on the teacher can easily describe the exact turn shape they want the student to make, for any drill they wish to employ.  It's such a time saving and great skill developing verbal tool.  

 

I've lost track of how many hundreds of time I have made that drawing in the snow while teaching.   Nice drawing though.  YM

post #25 of 28
I find that I draw the first image (90*) most frequently as I don't "allow" or encourage the others until those I'm coaching can consistently pull off an across the hill tranny....many struggle with this because, among other things, they ignore the Three S's of skiing--Separation, Separation, and Separation. biggrin.gif

zenny
post #26 of 28
If your behind your CoM you can't shape your turn. Is this right?
post #27 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by slider View Post

If your behind your CoM you can't shape your turn. Is this right?

Don't know exactly what you mean by "behind your CoM" but I think I get your drift. 

 

In order to continue skis in an arc  you need to build and perpetuate the pressure and edging you started at the beginning of the turn.  This pressure and edging creates centripetal force that pushes up from the snow shaping the ski and sending you into a circular path. 

 

 As you approach the fall line in turns say, greater than 60 degrees (see Ricks diagram and this is only a rough reference), acceleration of the skis can cause the CoM to fall to the "back seat" and in new skiers, this is amplified by a reaction to fear. Unfortunately this pattern can become standard operating procedure because you can continue to survive in this mode. 

 

When your CoM falls to the rear it is difficult to continue bending the front of the ski and centripetal force dissipates giving way to the gravitational pull of the fall line and skidded (not shaped) turns.

post #28 of 28

Choosing to ski completed, round turns instead of fall line turns (making 90degree vs 30degree turns) is the same as skiing the slow line.

If the turns are truly round, with a top the same size as the bottom, you'll be getting down to the lift not nearly as quickly as if you were making 30degree turns.

So there's speed control (travel time) involved.

 

You can ski along that slow line fast, if you know how to carve.  

 

Talking about turn shape is talking about skiing-the-slow-line-fast.

Both focus on intent instead of body mechanics.

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