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do i need to unweight?

post #1 of 164
Thread Starter 
Do I need to 'unweight' my skis at the end of a turn?
The energy stored in my skis (because they are decambered) goes into an unweighting before I switch edges, why not just let that energy project my CM down the slope into the next turn?
I am confused about unweighting.
Don't I want to keep as much pressure on my skis at al times?
A pressured ski is not always edged?
Thanks for your help.
post #2 of 164
A very good question, Zeek! There are two possible issues here, depending on how you use the term "unweight." In the "old days," skis had to be dislodged from their tracks into a skid in order to turn. Lifting them off the snow, or at least lightening them significantly, made twisting them into the new direction a lot easier.

Today, there are lots of situations where we may still want to throw our skis into a skid, and unweighting still makes it easier, so it's still an important technical tool. But more often than not, we want our skis to carve smoothly from one turn to another. They don't need to be displaced into a skid, so there is no need for classical unweighting!

Even so, as we release the edges and end a turn, the forces that had been pushing us into the turn vanish. We experience that as a sensation of becoming much lighter--"floating" is a common word to describe this sensation in the transition. I do not call this release of pressure "unweighting" because its cause is very different from the intentional unweighting that helps us throw our skis into a skid.

So the short answer to your question: the only thing that unweighting does is make it easier to displace the skis to the side. If you don't want to displace your skis into a skidded turn, you gain nothing from unweighting. But practice unweighting, so it's there whenever you need it!

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #3 of 164
I know I've learned to flex, which I think is the same as unweighting. When I did, my skiing got a whole lot better.

So yes, learn to flex or unweight as you call it -- very important.
post #4 of 164
Actually, SCSA, flexing may or may not be involved in unweighting. They are not the same thing. Traditionally, instructors have identified 4 types of unweighting: "Up-unweighting" (like a little hop), "down-unweighting" (a quick drop/flexion), "terrain-unweighting" (going off a jump or bump), and "rebound-unweighting" (springing from the rebound of skis when they release their bend from an edgeset or carved turn). There's a lot of confusion and frequent arguments among instructors, usually along the lines of whether flexing unweights the skis, or extending.

For those technically inclined or curious (or just terminally bored), the fact is that it doesn't make any difference which direction you move (up or down, flexing or extending). What matters is the direction of the ACCELERATION--not the motion--of the center of mass. Unweighting happens whenever we accelerate toward the snow--which could mean speeding up a down movement (down-unweighting), slowing down an up movement (up-unweighting), or having the terrain suddenly drop away from us (terrain unweighting).

So flexing (and extending) are very tied in to the activity of "unweighting," but they are not at all the same.

For many years, unweighting was considered so fundamental and necessary that it received a lot more emphasis than it does today. Then, 20 years or so ago, instructors began working with the "Skills Concept" and unweighting melted into the larger skill pool of "pressure control." In today's skiing, more than ever, pressure control is a constant activity, sometimes moving to increase it, sometimes to decrease it, sometimes to simply smooth it out (over moguls, for example), and sometimes eliminating it altogether, as needs or moods demand. "Unweighting" is less a distinct activity than simply part of this continuous monitoring and regulating of pressure.

Best regards
Bob Barnes
post #5 of 164
I see this thread growing like a virus. So I am gona get in my 2 cents early.

Point of contention in terms of rebound. I finaly heard a valid explination of rebound. It seems that the blame for the stored potential energy is the ski being bent. If you were to bend a ski as far as you could I am sure that you would be hard pressed for it to lift even a 25 lb weight very far. not nearly as far as you can be tossed hurtling down a hill.

Try out this explanation. A much smarter man than I explained it as the skiing version of a poll vault. What happens is that instead of flexing the leg at the end of a turn the leg is held rigid thus changing the direction of the cm as it flys through space. The result is at times a very powerful launch upward in the beginning of the new turn. "Rebound" Once again mis understood.

So the energy is not in the ski. It is in the body not handling pressure apropriatly. What do ya think?
post #6 of 164
mosh, I think you might have something there with the pole vault idea. I think its grounded well in physics. I think you also underestimate the energy of a bent ski. Stand between two blocks any you will see what I mean. You haven't bent the skis as much as they could and they are supporting you're weight. That weight is much greater than 25lbs.
Bob, I can't add much to what you have already said. Clear and concise, I would only serve to cloud the issue further.
post #7 of 164
I would second Peire eh comment of what Bob explained. However will get on a soap box for a moment and say much of the skiing public have been taught to unweight or even transfer weight. Most of the time I think this is a dead end street. If allowed to it's on device weight will often go to were it should. If we are able to direct our CM into the new turn with active tipping of the foot & leg, moving with our ski's, and moving our body away from the ski AND NOT the ski away from the body. Have a purpose to GO downhill we will be much better off. This starts from day 1 on skis to our 1 million. We need to let go of the old turn by releasing the edges from the fall line out. You will feel a weight change and maybe even a period of lightness as the ski's pass under your body and the body moves over the ski but this is more a result of the release then an action on your part.
post #8 of 164
I just watched the men´s gs at Solden.
I still see a LOT of up-unweighting between turns.This guys will never learn...
post #9 of 164
Mosh--technically, I think the term "rebound unweighting" is often misused, much as you suggest. While I agree with Pierre eh! that bent skis actually ARE capable of storing and releasing a substantial amount of energy, I agree with you too that much of the "rebound" comes from energy stored in our elastic muscles and tendons. Furthermore, much of the "springboard" effect we feel comes from a little "hook-shape" at the end of a short turn, which acts in many ways like a little kicker on a jump! When Ron LeMaster speaks of a turn as a "virtual bump," I believe it is this notion that he is alluding to.

To your point, also, it is important to note that any energy released from a ski as it snaps back from reverse camber can only be in a direction perpendicular to the ski base underfoot! If the skis are tipped uphill, the ski's component of rebound cannot launch the skier downhill! So clearly, other factors combine.

Best regards,
Bob Barnes

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ October 29, 2001 08:36 AM: Message edited 2 times, by Bob Barnes/Colorado ]</font>
post #10 of 164
Bob, would you explain how rebound or extension/retraction work in crossunder.
post #11 of 164
There's a fifth type of unweighting.... crash and burn! This is very closely tied to the a** over tea kettle move. Weight, unweight; weight, unweight. it's a very important technique when wanting to make a series of sittz marks down the hill. These sittz marks are very useful for holding various items for your subsequent yard sale. Of course one must properly advertise one's forthcoming yardsale with any number of explitives, only one of which can be posted here... Oh no, oh no, oh no! :
post #12 of 164

Jyarddog--you forgot to mention that such exquisite technique as the AOTK move with linked sitzmarks should never be attempted anywhere except underneath a full chairlift!

Which begs the ancient philosophical question: If you perform a spectacularly stupid stunt with spectacular "hospital air" results, and nobody sees (or hears) it, ...are you still a fool?


Best regards,
Bob Barnes

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ October 29, 2001 09:19 AM: Message edited 1 time, by Bob Barnes/Colorado ]</font>
post #13 of 164
Thread Starter 
(energy stored in bent ski)
+ (decreacing tention in leg muscles required to hold body against forces generated in turn)
= whole lotta rebound.
post #14 of 164
Lucky--that's a great question that I don't have time right away to answer, but I want you to know that I'm not ignoring you! I'll get back to it as soon as I can.

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #15 of 164
If as you are telling us you have a fully decambered ski or a ski on edge bent and carving. How do you get to the other edge without unweighting?
So you are doing it with out thinking about it which is good. There are several types of unwheighting, up, down, lateral, and the much discussed rebound which is one of the above only powered by the ski itself.
You be doing it all along my friend!
post #16 of 164
Re: Bob B. chairlift comment:

You are quite right. This technique of unweighting is best performed underneath a full chairlift or closeby in full sight.

Once I performed this move in a mogul field at Mt. Hood Meadows. it is just to the left of the quad blue which is right in back of the lodge. The mogul field is about half way up the chair on the left. Anyone who has skied here knows the one.

I started through the moguls, wanting to practice what I had learned in class the previous season (this was many moons ago.). I started through, compression-extension-compression-extention. Looking ahead 1 and 2 moguls for my line. It was working! I looked great! I started mentally patting myself on the back, thinking I was looking like a Warren Miller fick, and it was just like that. Doing so I wasn't, at that millesecond, paying attention to what I was suppossed to be paying attention to!!! i hit a backside of what I thought was a mogul, but was a rather verticle wall of snow. My skis came to an abrupt halt, I gained the most beautiful "air", filpping twice like Stein Erikson, landing flat on my back, spread eagle! (Why do yardsales always end up UPHILL?)

Out of the corner of my left eye I could see the chairlift had stopped, and all the people were leaning forward, looking in my direction, wondering if I was alright. To let them know, I raised my arms to the sky and yelled, "God! Why me?" Everyone on the chairlift laughed so hard the chairs shook up and down.

Lessons of this story: Proper unweighting was performed to gain impressive "air". Proper yardsale was laid out. Proper inattention to one's business was executed to achieve all of the above; and it was all done in full unobstructed view of said chairlift.

I can teach this lesson 99.9% better than anybody! I was driving some VR 27 Dynamics at the time. Incredible ski, but regardless what what ski you are driving, I learned that you gotta hang on to the steering wheel at all times!

Now... who can top THAT one?
post #17 of 164
Thread Starter 
The bumps were really soft under the Croyle chairlift at BM. There was a double. (catch air on one bump, land on the backside of the next) Some dudes I was skiing with had shoveled up the kicker a little higher. I volunteered to try it out first. I started a smooth line through bumps. Before the hit I let the skis run a bit for speed and launched off perfectly. Perfect balance in the air ready for a perfect landing... right into some wet slop. Skis didn't move- I was out of the bindings and nose first into the snow. Knocked the wind outta me.

I regained my breath, stood up and spit out a mouthful of bloody stuff hopped in my skis and headded down to ski patrol.

At school the next day I blamed my swollen face on a fight. "The other guy is still in the hospital."

Oh yeah, I was wearing my instructor jacket too!
post #18 of 164
Zeek- I think that tops my story!!!!

I did something similar, but I chickened out and slowed down a bit. Big mistake! I hit the front side of the second jump. SKis stop, I kept going... without said skis! The worst of it was... two girls were watching! rats! :
They asked if I was hurt. I said, "Nothing but my pride!"
post #19 of 164
Hey all,

Here's a couple thoughts. There is always unweighting of the skis when linking turns. Inherently, it has to be. As many have said, there are many ways of categorizing these patterns.

The fact remains there is a release of energy (rebound) and a period of the skis being light (unweighted) and then pressure again in a new turns. The beauty of skiing is the endless possibility for variation. No two turns are the same.

However, the core movements of sound skiing to link turns can be categorized and utilized on a regular basis. Bob B. (not suprisingly) did a nice job of listing the generally accepted forms of unweighting / transitioning.

I think it is a good goal to have the skis realease right straight up perpendicular to their surface under boot. Personally, I like the relaxation/retraction move to do it, so the upper body moves into the turn and the feet draw right up and out the other side with the inside foot lightly leading the edge change of the skis. Howerver, the skis don’t always do this becuase your skis always maintain forward momentum and they can shoot straight out from underneathe you. So...they do not always spring straight up, they can shoot out too whn you’re off balance.

Beyond this, we are engaging in a potentially lenghty but interesting discussion of the variations to unweight the skis. I firmly believe that good skiing is as much about taking weight off the skis as it is about on putting it on. But here's a couple more thoughts on a topic that has come up.

Rebound. Rebound, I believe (like others here) involves more then just your skis decambering. It also involves you standing on your skis resisting the G's of your turn. The G forces generated by you making a turn depend on factors like your weight, speed, turn radius, snow and terrain. The forces can be from nothing at all when sliding around with a beginner lesson to crush-you-into-the-mountain strong in a really high speed turn through, say, a transition from steep to flat. For the most part we all know our limits and ski within them.

The rebound comes from how we release the G's from the turn. How we choose to come out of turn and into the next. One example is if you resist all the way through a turn and push (extend) at the end to release and transition you can get a very explosive transition, fast lots of energy (rebound). But it does not come just from the bent ski. It comes also from you and all the pent up energy of the you and the turn and the you being stringer and pushing aganist the G's to up un-weight.

You can also gently guide the release of the energy (or inherent rebound) by relaxing your leg/s more slowly and "let the air out of the tire" to transition, so to speak. You can do this at a very high speed or low speed and transition very efficiently from one set of edges to the other.

So, I believe that "rebound" is defined by factors beyond just a decambered ski and that how the energy is released is one those beautiful endless spectrum aspects of skiing which we all dig so much.

post #20 of 164

You said that there must be an unweighting in the transition. Now while there is a lightening of the pressure under my feet in almost all turns I don't konw if I would want to use the term "unweighting" to describe it. What I am trying to do is to control the pressure under my feet and it seems to me that some of the best turns that I make happen when I have managed to keep a high pressure under my feet right through the transition. The skis change edge but they remain pressured and in all liklyhood flexed.

The tracks I leave when I do this are very sharp rr-tracks and the skis feel like they are running on rails.

Would you classify this under unweighting?

The above was typed tired and not proofread,

EditPS. After re-reading your post another way to describe what I am doing is not releasing the energy and allowing the skis to rebound. I want to control and channel the energy.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ October 31, 2001 08:47 AM: Message edited 2 times, by Ydnar ]</font>
post #21 of 164
I would say you are right on. Unweighteing does not always mean the skis are COMPLETELY weight less. But there is always a buuild of G's in the turn and then a reduction of G's in transition. Wouldn't you say?

post #22 of 164
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>...there is always a build of G's in the turn and then a reduction of G's in transition. Wouldn't you say?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

This goes without saying--it is true by definition. "G-forces" are the result of turns, or the cause, depending on your perspective. Either way, they are inevitable if we turn, and their reduction is equally inevitable when we stop turning.

But as a matter of definition, this natural build and release of G-forces is not what I would call the ACTIVITY of "unweighting"--or "weighting," for that matter. While some may use the term differently, classical "unweighting" is the INTENTIONAL removal of "weight" (force) from the skis, in order to facilitate twisting or pivoting them. G-forces exist in cars, too, but few of us would refer to them as "unweighting."

Nothing inherent in the word itself requires this specific definition, but when I use the word "unweighting," and usually when you encounter it in skiing literature, this is how it's meant. It is the "lift" of the old Arlberg technique. It is the "hop" of hop turns or "spiess." It's waiting until the skis naturally unweight at the top of a bump or the lip of a fall-away before twisting them.

It is an intentional activity, over and above(although usually incorporating) the inevitable ebb and flow of pressure that accompanies all turns. And unweighting, by this definition, is NOT necessary or even desirable for linked, carved turns, any more than a car needs to "unweight" to turn from right to left.

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #23 of 164
But don't forget that it feels really good!
post #24 of 164
No argument there, Miles! From my perspective, this discussion is theoretical--we do not NEED to unweight to link turns, and from a pure control standpoint, we don't usually WANT to unweight. To return to the analogy of a car, what could be worse than hitting a big frost heave that sends you airborne just as you come to a sharp bend in the road? (There used to be a scary corner just like that on the drive to Sugarloaf that I took as often as I could. The road dropped sharply away, at a dog-leg right turn. I'll bet a lot of the Bears know that curve....). You can't very well turn in the air!

But that's not to say that getting a little air--even in a car--can't be thrilling and fun!

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #25 of 164
OK Bob I will bite!
How do YOU change edgeset without unweighting?
If you tell me you ROLL the knees, there is the unweighting!
SO I can not WEIGHT to hear your story.
By the way I will swap stories about skiers who enjoy skiing not instruction some time with you.
post #26 of 164
Lossing that feeling of floating was for me the down point of my conversion. Especially in bumps.
post #27 of 164
Dr. G--

Rolling your knees (tipping the skis, releasing the edges), while it does accompany the release of "G-forces" that is inevitable when a turn ends, does not constitute the activity or technique of "unweighting" as I use the term, and as it is generally used in classic skiing literature.

If that release of pressure fits YOUR definition, fine--I have no argument--you are free to use words any way you choose. But to include the natural release of pressure at the end of a turn in the definition of "unweighting" is to eliminate the utility of the term in the first place! It would also represent a departure from traditional, established and well-documented use of the term.

To say that "he unweighted in the turn transition," by this definition, is akin to saying "the laws of physics applied." True, but not particularly informative!

"Unweighting" (as I use the term) refers to a technique, an activity expressly intended to reduce the pressure on the skis to facilitate displacing or twisting them. An integral part of "older" (but still important) techniques, which involved displacing the skis into a skid to start every turn, this activity is not required for turns where we simply need to roll the skis from one edge to another.

Cars, bicycles, motorcycles, water skiers, runners--anything going through a slalom course or series of S-turns experiences the same natural, repeated, build-up and release of lateral force that accompanies all turns--indeed, that CAUSES all turns. But I have never heard of anyone suggesting that that car driver or the runner needs to actively or intentionally "unweight" to transition from one turn to another.

This discussion illustrates how it is often a mistake to look too literally at a word to grasp its true "meaning." There is little inherent in the actual word "unweighting" that unlocks its "real meaning." "Weight" really isn't even the issue, is it? "Weight" literally refers to the mass of a body as it is influenced by the force of gravity. Neither the release of "G-forces" nor any movement we can make technically alters our "weight"! So if we look literally at the word "unweighting," it's clearly the wrong term in the first place!

But if you want to look at it literally, or technically, then it certainly supports the notion that "rolling the knees" does not constitute unweighting. If you can figure out a way to change this, you'll create the most popular new fad weight-loss program in history!

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #28 of 164
So is it pressuring, reducing or unpressuring, and repressuring? [img]tongue.gif[/img]
post #29 of 164
With all due RESPECT. the answer to Zeeks Question - Do I need to 'unweight' my skis at the end of a turn?
The energy stored in my skis (because they are decambered) goes into an unweighting before I switch edges, why not just let that energy project my CM down the slope into the next turn?


No Psyco babble about it. Go and tell the whole world now that a decambered edged ski does not need to be un-weighted!
In a split second as pressure is released the will be this tremendous explosion of kenitic energy and unweighting WILL occur.
If a talented skier is in charge you may not see it, the energy will be absorbed and it will show up in a number of ways, the knees are always a good place to watch for this activity. If an untalented skier is in the hot seat the ski may squirt out and they get behind it. Or there is always the world famous BOBing that occurs!
post #30 of 164
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Go and tell the whole world now that a decambered edged ski does not need to be un-weighted!<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

G--I believe I already said that, and explained my point in detail. I guess this is just one of those things that you either understand, or you don't.

Have I done something to offend you?

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
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