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pivot slip

post #1 of 101
Thread Starter 
I heard it many times but don't know what it looks like. I ll like to ask the essence of this drill or technique. If possible a vid would be great. Thanks in advance.
post #2 of 101

Here's an animation of Pivot Slips that I put together after Weems stated something to the effect that he'd rather listen to Neil Diamond than do Pivot Slips. I think you can torture yourself with both at the same time!

"Pivot Slips" are a useful and versatile exercise on skis that develops several important skills and sensations. First and most obvious, perhaps, is the rotation of the legs (femurs) in the hip sockets that is critically important in virtually all skiing maneuvers, from pure-carved arcs to hockey stops. Without this skill, skiers invariably rely on upper body exertions ("rotation" or "counter-rotation") and/or powerful blocking pole plants whenever they need to twist their skis. Upper body movements can twist or pivot skis only, causing skidding, and cannot be used to guide the skis or shape turns precisely. Without femur rotation (as with a fused hip), skiing as we know it is not possible at all. Beyond the obvious rotary effects, femur rotation is involved in edging movements as well.

Perhaps even more importantly, Pivot Slips help develop the feel for the edge release that marks the transition in offensive turns--again, whether pure-carved or brushed and guided. Such turns begin (and, if linked, end) in what I call "neutral," which is an attitude that is well-defined by Pivot Slips. The entire maneuver takes place in "neutral," on slipping skis with edges released. There should be no edge set, and no attempt to slow the slip at any point in the maneuver.

It's not the easiest of exercises, by any means. It is commonly used as one of several skill and discipline tasks for Full Certified instructor exams. Many people who "think" they're doing Pivot Slips are not!

Pivot Slips highlight the "release and guide the tips downhill, into the turn" initiation of modern, offensive turns. Perhaps the most common error when attempting them is the tendency to set the edge of the downhill ski, slowing or even stopping the slip, and then "pushing off" from the platform of that ski--pushing and twisting the uphill ski tail uphill, rather than guiding the downhill tip down the hill.

Fore-aft balance is critical in Pivot Slips. If it isn't just right, the skis will not slip directly down the fall line, and the pivot point will not fall directly under the foot, as in the animation above. It's a great way, therefore, to find a modern, neutral stance.

It's also effective at finding your optimal "ready" athletic stance for skiing--both vertically and stance-width-wise. Too narrow a stance compromises the power of the leg rotation involved (a locked-together stance makes it impossible). Too wide a stance, while powerful, creates problems with fore-aft balance, as one foot will be weighted forward and the other aft. A stance either too tall (knees and hips extended, femurs upright) or too short (knees and hips flexed) reduces the range of rotation available in the hip sockets.

Finally, while it hardly looks like an "edging drill," Pivot Slips develop the highly-refined sense of subtle edge control involved in the edge release and transition between turns. Learning to let go ("release") and maintain balance on released edges is critical in modern turns.

That should get you started! I have posted video clips and video animations of Pivot Slips here previously, but the server that hosted them is no longer in operation, so I'll need to find them and link to them again, when I can find the time.

Best regards,

post #3 of 101
Here's the animation of Vail instructor Ric Reiter ("VailSnoPro") that I've posted before, demonstrating some great Pivot Slips at Brighton, Utah, during the first EpicSki Academy:

Note the very stable upper body (including the pelvis), fast, continuous sideslip, and smooth, continuous pivot of both legs at the hip sockets.

[edit--Well, I guess it's a little hard to see the "smooth & continuous" nature of the movements in this crude animation--but you can use your imagination!]

Best regards,
post #4 of 101
Note also in both Ric's animation and the cartoon animation in my first post, that there is no "up" move--no unweighting or need to lift either ski off the snow to release its grip. There are two ways to release a ski's edge: lift it off the snow (or at least, lighten it sufficiently), or reduce its edge angle until it lets go. Pivot Slips involve entirely the latter!

Nor is there a "down" move that might be associated with increasing the edge angle--because the skis slip continuously in this exercise.

"Slip fast, Pivot slow" is my guiding slogan for Pivot Slips. And, to prevent the "pushoff" of the uphill ski to start the pivot, "right tip right to pivot right" is the mantra--virtually identical to "right tip right to GO right" for actual turns.

Best regards,
post #5 of 101
Now, Carver_HK, it's your turn!

Try a few pivot slips, and get some video. I--and others, I'm sure--will be happy to critique!

Best regards,
post #6 of 101


I should caution anyone who wants to try Pivot Slips: catching the downhill edge of the downhill ski during the sideslip is a very unpleasant possibility when doing Pivot Slips! Be sure to practice on the smoothest, best-groomed slope you can find. You're less likely to catch an edge on a steeper slope, too, and you want to find a slope that is at least steep enough that you can maintain or even increase your speed as you sideslip. A freshly-groomed, soft corduroy moderate "blue" pitch is usually ideal.

Please don't say I didn't warn you!

Best regards,
post #7 of 101
Thread Starter 
Hi Bob,

Thanks for providing so much information on the topic. I ll study it carefully and come up with a vid when I find my turns reasonably like a pivot slip.
post #8 of 101
You're welcome, Carver_hk. I look forward to seeing the video.

Please don't wait too long to get video (or to get an actual instructor to help). You don't need to "perfect" the maneuver first--just try a few and send video so we can make sure you're on the right track. THEN practice! You don't want to "practice mistakes."

Best regards,
post #9 of 101
Poor Ric's legs are almost as worn out as Ott's from the wedlen video.

Carver, note that while the vast majority of the ski rotation results from Ric's femurs turning, there is a slight turning of the pelvis near the end of each swing of the skis. For all but the most loose jointed of us, getting the full 180-degree rotation of the skis requires a bit of pelvis involvement. But Ric's upper torso remains facing downhill throughout.
post #10 of 101
Very true, and well-said, Kneale. The pelvis follows the legs once they reach their limits in the hip sockets, and only as much as necessary. The key is that the pelvis must follow and not lead, and that the rest of the upper body not rotate at all, as you say.

Of course, "Rocky" (the cartoon guy) doesn't even appear to have a pelvis, and he has unlimited range of rotation in his hip sockets!

Best regards,
post #11 of 101


I can't see any video or animation
post #12 of 101
That is strange, Ghost. They're both animated .gif files. Can you usually see the animations I post? Can you usually see animated gifs elsewhere? Have you tried a different browser (what are you using)? Do these files appear at all--still images--or is there nothing?

Is anyone else having difficulty seeing these animations?

Sorry about that, Ghost. I hope we can resolve the problem.

Best regards,
post #13 of 101
I have no problems viewing the animations on my computer Bob. Maybe something is blocking them on your system Ghost?

I tried your tip of slip fast and pivot slow Bob. Thanks! That helps! It doesn't matter what level instructor or skier you are, pivot slips are a great way to tune up your skiing!
post #14 of 101
11 replies on a thread about pivot slips, and 8 of them are by Bob "Pivot slips are good for you" Barnes. What a surprise.

I'd rather listen to Neil Diamond as well then do pivot slips as well. Living in Boston, it's hard to go more then 24 hours without hearing "Sweet Caroline" anyway, so you kinda get used to him.
post #15 of 101
I like pivot slips!!!

and to be honest my goals recently have been to eliminate as much active rotary from skiing as possible, but pivot slips do so much for someone who likes to ski steep and uneven terrain.

the interesting thing about doing them is even dynamic and purely carved short radius turns its make the passive rotary movements are so much more precise.

lastly in the off piste sort of things it teach alot of discipline with the upper body. its amazing how sloppy your legs can be and still get down stuff quickly and in balance as long your upper body is in the right position.

lastly to a pivot slip properly you must have a very strong core to be your base with a weak core these can be nearly impossible.
post #16 of 101
Make that NINE (so far)!


I think that the reason the "slip fast, pivot slow" thought works so well is that it describes tactics that require the proper mechanics--and precludes the wrong mechanics. "Slip fast" (and never slow down the slip by digging in the edges, especially during or preceding the pivot) ensures complete edge release and eliminates the possibility of any "pushoff" mechanics.

"Pivot slow" not only simulates the timing of steering movements in real turns better than a quick pivot would, it also precludes upper body-based rotary mechanisms like counter-rotation, rotation, or a blocking pole plant. The only way to pivot the skis slowly and continuously is to use the legs. Yes, you could also pivot them quickly with the proper leg rotation mechanics, but you cannot pivot them slowly with the wrong mechanics.

Pivoting slowly also requires that we adjust our balance over the skis continuously throughout the pivot--which is not always necessary when we just throw the skis from one direction to the other.

Best regards,
post #17 of 101
Good thoughts, Bushwacker!

(Congratulations on your success at the Full Cert exam!)

I agree with all that you said. Ironically, while very active, exaggerated leg rotation is probably the most obvious characteristic of Pivot Slips, in my opinion it is far from the most beneficial or relevant use of them as a drill. There are plenty of other ways to develop leg rotation!

As you suggest, the drill develops precision and sensitivity to the movements of the legs. That movement remains critical regardless of the muscular exertion or "passivity" involved, and regardless of the cause of the motion (which can involve much more--or lsss--than just muscular torque).

As I've described, I think that the most important attribute of Pivot Slips is its relevance to the moment of "neutral," which I define as the moment a new turn begins, marked by the release of the edge(s). In that regard, it is the "great equalizer" of contemporary offensive turns. It is fundamentally the same whether the turn is a basic, low-speed brushed parallel or wedge christie turn, a linked "railroad track" carved arc, or a series of high-speed dynamic carved turns. While other parts of these turns obviously look and feel quite different, they all share the moment of "neutral." It's virtually the same, even, in alpine and telemark turns--including the "lead" of the uphill ski at that moment (which will be reversed in most parts of the turn).

Any difficulties that arise in Pivot Slips will invariably hinder a skier's turns of all types and speeds, and in all conditions.

You're right, Kevin. Pivot Slips are good for you!


Best regards,
post #18 of 101
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the wealth of knowledge offered on this particular topic, which I happen to see its value to my progression. After reading through all the contributions. I have some questions. Any insight will be much appreciated.

1. the skier should be center balance through the turns?
2. the skier should be flexed and stay flexed. With both feet underneath the butt in a hip width stance?
3. femur rotation about the hip joint is brought about by both gravity and muscular effort? the core is to function like a big mass with some counter so that it looks solid?
4. I don't see why pole plant is needed. Does it serve a purpose?
5. while edge lock is wrong, edging using the base only to create a platform is right?
6. the only way to slow down is by the base making an angle relative to the snow surface?

I ll have a chance to test out what i learn here tomorrow in my nearby ski dome. Then i ll have 8 days skiing in real mountain. I really hope i can work out something worhthy for MA.


post #19 of 101
Carver, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to go out with Bob and work on pivot slips yesterday. Something I would strongly suggest you make time to do if you get anywhere near Keystone. If I may, I want to share with you some of what I learned from that clinic.

I cannot stress the importance and relevance of this maneuver enough. It is simply the cornerstone of linking turns at every level of modern skiing. My group came away from that morning with a new appreciation and awareness of that fact. So without reservation, I would say regardless of the terrain, or your chosen turn size/shape, it makes you a smoother, stronger skier to work on pivot slips.
That afternoon, I had one student actually stop in the middle of a medium blue bump run to verbally and mentally scold herself for not hanging onto the pivot slip release move she had worked so hard to learn that morning. With a little coaching and encouragement, she went back to using it and her bump skiing dramatically improved immediately. At one point (on one of our easier black/harder blue bump runs) she even started to giggle because it was working so well for her.
We went on to have a very successful afternoon of working on a variety of movements and maneuvers but not without a strong focus on including this style of release move. So even if the DIRT changes from ski maneuver to ski maneuver, the fundamental need for this type of release doesn't change. It comes as close as anything I can think of to a magic pill that will improve your skiing.
Thanks again Bob for sharing your time and knowledge,
post #20 of 101
Originally Posted by Kneale Brownson View Post
Poor Ric's legs are almost as worn out as Ott's from the wedlen video.

Carver, note that while the vast majority of the ski rotation results from Ric's femurs turning, there is a slight turning of the pelvis near the end of each swing of the skis. For all but the most loose jointed of us, getting the full 180-degree rotation of the skis requires a bit of pelvis involvement. But Ric's upper torso remains facing downhill throughout.

As this is an animation from individual frames I'm not sure this is accurate but I see the jacket (front zipper and side seems) turning as soon as the hip (femur in hip socket) starts rotating. The rotation may be amplified in the hips but I see the pelvis start to rotate as soon as the hip starts.
post #21 of 101
Si, The important thing to notice is the pelvis is being drawn into the pivot as a consequence, it is not causing the pivot.
post #22 of 101

Pivot Slip Drill - Rosee Drill / Video

You may find this pivot slip drill - Rosee drill / video helpful.

The CSCF Husky Snow Stars Technical Manual is an excellent resource with many drills for all levels.

Rosee Drill Video http://www.vivatexte.com/eprep/cscf/...6-CF71CBCC4EEB

CSCF Husky Snow Stars
Select Level 7
Scroll to bottom of page in Skill Duals section
Click on Video filmstrip graphic on right side of screen

4:20-5:20 or move slider just past half way. Rosee drill (stivot type drill with pivot slide) go through 2 sets of corridor markers then pivot.

Rosee Drill Explanation http://www.vivatexte.com/eprep/cscf/...6-CF71CBCC4EEB

CSCF Husky Snow Stars
Select Level 7
Scroll to Technical Skills section

or pages 92 & 97 in Level 7 section Technical Skills subsection of Husky Snow Stars Technical Manual at http://web.archive.org/web/200603201...1215160711.pdf

or or pages 12 & 17 in Level 7 section Technical Skills subsection of Husky Snow Stars Technical Manual at http://canski.org/webconcepteur/web/...&iddoc=78 341

Level 7 Technical Skills


An excellent drill designed by Jamie Rosewarne for developing speed of separation or quickness of steering feet underneath the upper body.

Set with stubbies or brushes. Set a rectangle in the fall line 1m x 4m. Leave a space of 6- 8m in the fall line and then set another rectangle as above. Set at least 8 rectangles and spaces between them as above.

The skiers are to run straight through the rectangle and pivot the skis across the fall line and back again as fast as possible and run straight through the next rectangle.

The shorter the space between rectangles the more difficult the drill.

The aim is not to slow down. Maintain the same speed or speed up staying very centered over the skis. Any sitting back will make fast pivoting very difficult.

This drill was named after Jamie Rosewarne. He is a past president of the CSCF and has been a member of the CSCF Board of Directors and Technical Committee. His coaching credentials include Level 3 (CSCF & NCCP) Coaching Certification, Level 4 Instructor (CSIA) as well as eighteen seasons as Head Coach at Ottawa Ski Club. He was Interim Technical Director Alpine Ontario Alpin.
post #23 of 101
Nice drill, well executed by some good young skiers.
post #24 of 101
I'm just sitting here thinking that this conversation wouldn't be possible without the banning of certain former members.

How nice that is.
post #25 of 101
Count another in for pivot slips. Pivot slips are a bedrock maneuver that I do for my own skiing on a regular basis. I try to do then on as flat of surface and as slow of slip as I can. When done in this way the centering effect and discipline is invogorating. I am not doing these pivot slips for noble reasons, the reasons are purely selfish in fact. Pivot slips are one of my keys to real power in skiing.

No Neal Diamond for me.
post #26 of 101
I hate pivot slips but still work on them as it build a great skill base. Maybe if I attend one of Bob's clinics I'll learn to like them someday!

post #27 of 101
I shut my computer down and started it up. The gifs are there now...Sweet Caroline.....
post #28 of 101
Thanks for the pointer to the Husky Snow Stars video. It's interesting to see how CSCF uses the Rosee drill.

Does anyone happen to have pointers to video of strong FIS skiers (US A team or international counterparts) drilling pivot slips or some variant like the Rosee drill? I'd be very interested in seeing how they rehearse this "cornerstone of linking turns at every level of modern skiing." What additional refinements are present in pivot slips at that rarified level beyond, say, those of a strong full cert?
post #29 of 101
Originally Posted by Bob Barnes View Post
Here's an animation of Pivot Slips that I put together after Weems stated something to the effect that he'd rather listen to Neil Diamond than do Pivot Slips. I think you can torture yourself with both at the same time!

Best regards,

I knew that Weems and I had something in common.
Charlie made me do pivot slips, and though I understand the purpose, I can not understand the passion for doing them.

Charlie Chaplan, eh?
post #30 of 101
SkierScott--awesome little video, with some great, fun brush/gate drills. What skills those kids are developing!

Thanks for posting the link.

Best regards,
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