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How to not accelerate???

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
I hope I'm posting in the right forum... As the title says - how do I do that?

Here's a bit of background - I thought by making tigher radius turn, one can slow down without "braking" to control speed. I have been working on getting on edge as early as I can in the upper C rather than skid or traverse half the hill during the upper C (including finishing the turn pointing updhill to slow down).

But here's what I have so far - I hired a private lesson today and the 1st thing the coach said after seeing my first 3 turns was: ah, you are trying way too hard to engage the edge early hence making Z turns.

What he told & asked me to practise for an hour was: as you "enter the fall line", hop then pivot your ski (so it becomes perpendicular to the fall line), then skids & use the edge to shave off whatever speed needed, so you can carve perfectly during the bottom C.

Is this really how to control speed? And I'm not talking 45 degree jump-off-the-cliff runs... This just sounds totally inefficient to me.

Having said that, he did say (pointed out) if I simply carve the upper C, all I'm doing is flipping the ski from 1 side to another - how would speed decrease. Now, that's also something I thought its right but now I don't know how to answer.

Help please!
post #2 of 11
Hi Hobieboy,

The best way to control your speed is to shape your turns efficiently. There are a lot of folks out there that think to control ones speed means getting on the edge. This just make you go faster. Get of the edge and smear your turn. While smearing, shape the turn until you find a comfortable speed for the terrain you are skiing. This can also be done on an edge, shaping of the turn. But this should be done in more moderate terrain. But the bottom line is turn shape IMHO.-----Wigs
post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
Wigs, thanks for the response!
If I get it right, getting on edge early & try to use that to shape the turn will not slow me down? By smearing, I guess its what I described as "skid down the fall line with skis perpendicular to fall line"? These sound exactly like what the instructor asked me to do...

What I'm confused is: this means that speed control = brake during bottom half of the 'C' via skidding? And how much speed I can scrub = how much edge I use when "sideways" (skis perpendicular to the fall line)?

Thanks!
post #4 of 11
Hi Hobieboy. There's a lot of confusion in your first post,,, either in how you understood what your instructor was saying to you, or in the content of his statements. There's so much wrong there, lets just forget it and start from scratch.

You have a number of means of managing speed. They can be used together, or independantly. First, degree of turn. What relationship are your skis to the falline when you finish your turn? 0 degrees is straight down the falline, and 90 degrees is perpendicular to it. The higher the number, the more you keep your speed down. Pay no attention to those who tell you turning more than 45 degrees looks dumb. For true high level skiers it's always about function, not a silly sense of aesthetics.

Next is radius. The smaller the radius you make your turn, the slower you will go.

Your third speed management tool is the size of the skid angle. That is, how out of alignment are your direction of travel, and the direction your skis are pointing. Carving has a 0 skid angle, it leaves just a thin track on the snow, and creates little speed control. The bigger the skid angle becomes, the wider the track you leave in the snow, the more the skis break, and the slower you'll go.

Mix and match those however you like. The slowest combination will be a large degree of turn, combined with a small radius and a big skid angle. If you want to control speed while carving, do it with degree of turn and radius.

And if you want even more speed control, you always can fall back on pivoting.
post #5 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by hobieboy View Post
Having said that, he did say (pointed out) if I simply carve the upper C, all I'm doing is flipping the ski from 1 side to another - how would speed decrease. Now, that's also something I thought its right but now I don't know how to answer.
That part is right. Simply rolling the skis from one edge to the other to go from the finish of one turn to the start of the next turn does nothing to slow down. But this is a great way to carve the upper part of a turn. For "z" turners however, the problem is that they turn their feet to get the skis onto the new edge instead of tipping their feet. This causes skidding and, as Rick says, that's one way to not accelerate. If you're carving your turns, you will accelerate within a portion of your turn. But to the extent that you finish the turn with an uphill component, you will decelerate at the end of the turn. This will let you travel down the hill at an average constant speed.

Without video, we can only guess if you're instructor made an accurate diagnosis and offered an appropriate path for positive change. We typically try to get Z turners more comfortable with accelerating down the fall line and try to get them to let their skis turn them more while having them turn their feet less. So it's possible that your instructor was at least trying to make sense. If the instructor thought the trail was relatively steep, narrow or crowded then your story would make more sense. But we agree that the message you received does not make sense.
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
Rick, thanks for the clarification... think I understand the options now clearly But as Rusty said, it also "highlights" the confusing part of the post.

Let me see if I can explain a little better...

I specifically asked to learn speed control in narrow trails where I can't travel uphill via a big bottom 'C' shape at the end of the turn to slow down.

The 1st thing my instructor said was I'm engaged the edge too early in the high 'C' (that's really all he said), and I should learn to let the ski slip down the fall line & use the edge to control speed. And I need to somehow pivot my ski so I'm slipping down the fall line with ski perpendicular to it.

So, as Rusty explained, I probably was making Z turn using edges only hence not slowing down at all.

But now, between the 2 explanations, perhaps this is the "only" way to slow down when the trail / terrain is narrow?
post #7 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by hobieboy View Post
Rick, thanks for the clarification... think I understand the options now clearly But as Rusty said, it also "highlights" the confusing part of the post.

Let me see if I can explain a little better...

I specifically asked to learn speed control in narrow trails where I can't travel uphill via a big bottom 'C' shape at the end of the turn to slow down.

The 1st thing my instructor said was I'm engaged the edge too early in the high 'C' (that's really all he said), and I should learn to let the ski slip down the fall line & use the edge to control speed. And I need to somehow pivot my ski so I'm slipping down the fall line with ski perpendicular to it.

So, as Rusty explained, I probably was making Z turn using edges only hence not slowing down at all.

But now, between the 2 explanations, perhaps this is the "only" way to slow down when the trail / terrain is narrow?
In a situation where you find yourself in a narrow skiing area, Short radius turns and smear. Limit the use of your edges.----Wigs
post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wigs View Post
In a situation where you find yourself in a narrow skiing area, Short radius turns and smear. Limit the use of your edges.----Wigs
yes - will do. Digging deeper into my own memory, I remember the instructor did say to use "scarving" instead of carving.

Its just the pivot part along the fall line that confuses me.
post #9 of 11
If the terrain is steep and narrow (meaning not much wider than your skis are long) then your only options are Hop-Turns, Pivot-to-Scarve turns, or Very Tightly Scarved turns.

Hop turns with a somewhat skidded finish work well and arrest the most downhill momentum but can take a lot of energy and aren't much fun. These can also be used on Coral Reef if you leave out the finishing skid and have good lateral balance. They can be a lot like hopping back & forth down a flight of stairs one step at a time. Very much a 180-degree air-Pivot.

Pivot-to-Scarve turns are useful where the snow has some 'give' to it (but not on Coral Reef!). Here, you do a pivot-slip type of turn entry but get the edge over far enough to dig in deeply while continuing a forceful pivot of the skis. This uses surface snow to help dissipate energy (if on thinly covered ice) and/or scrapes ice directly to dissipate energy through friction. It also works well in firm and soft snow. In effect, you're essentially jumping from one Scarve to another bypassing the top of the turn. This too consumes a lot of energy, though not nearly as much as Hop Turns.

The best option would be Tightly Scarved turns if the run is wide enough for your ski length and ability level. Here, the skier implements a typical short radius turn but tips the skis greatly right at the outset of each new turn while forcefully pivoting the fully-pressured skis into turn entry.

The mechanism in this last method is that we convert some of our downhill-momentum into across-the-hill momentum by releasing the Scarve into a Carve late in each turn. This gives us just enough forward momentum (across the narrow run) to immediately engage the new edges and Scarve into the next turn (not just from the Apex to the finish of it). In this way some of the momentum created while traveling downhill is converted into momentum across the hill and our turn-entry Scarving effort dissipates that energy in a place where Gravity isn't also tugging us in that direction making it easier for us to dissipate energy.

I find this last method to be the easiest of the three.

.ma
post #10 of 11
Learn and practice pivot slips. This task has been very well explained recently by bob barnes, just do a search for pivot slips. Once you have a reasonable grasp of the skills involved in pivot slips and making very slow smooth transitions with no direction change while slipping as fast as possible down the fall line, it is easy to bring in progressively more edge angle to shape the desired turns. Good pivot slips demand very accurate movements and a good stance which will translate nicely into your free skiing transitions.


There is a whole spectrum of skill blending between carving and slipping. Pure pivoting or pivot slips leave no direction change and use very little edge angle while the other end of the spectrum, pure carving uses very little slipping and leaves a very defined arc in the snow. Being able to blend these two skills so as to shape our turns anywhere along that spectrum is part of becoming an expert skier.

Once most skiers reach the ability to carve a turn they are sometimes under the mis-perception that carving is the ultimate goal and they have arrived at expert skiing. As you have discovered, it is difficult to carve a short turn in a narrow swath. The truth is mastering the ability to affectively blend the skills for the needs of the situation is what the expert does skillfully.

Back to your short turns, or any turns with speed control for that matter, the goal should be to blend just enough edge angle to control the arc and minimize skidding while blending in just enough pivoting to shape the turn to your liking. Generally the top of the turn where the forces of the turn kinda cancel each other out so as not to pull us out of the turn, we do not need much edge angle to redirect and can subtly guide the ski into the turn. As the turn develops and forces pulling us toward the outside of the turn increase, we blend in more edge angle (with the help of the slope angle) to keep us in the desired arc until we have controlled our speed satisfactorily. The expert will flow rythmically and fluidly from turn to turn blending the skills to achieve his/her desired path.

While it is a blast to lay down some trenches in the snow and speed around our turns, the ability to control the shape and size of our turns is also a rush.

I like BB's mantra of "ski the slow line as fast as you can" because in encapsulates the mental image of trying not to excessively skid or stem or make any negative movements to slow down, rather use the turn shape to control our descent while skiing around that arc as fast as we can. This is efficient turning in my mind.

Be able to ski the whole spectrum from carving to slipping and you will not have any difficulty controlling your speed!
post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the reply MichaelA & Bud... very insightful !

 

I took all the advice and tried it on the slope, guess I have found a few clues now...

 

Between not completing the turn completely, a bit of Z-turn shape & trying too hard to not brake and rely only on carving/turn shape to control speed, I failed :(

 

I tried to be a little more patience in the upper C to make sure I end up with more a tight S-shape turn and allow a bit of "scarving", I can now minimize use of brakes & still be able to control my speed.

 

So thanks! Sometimes, it seems that its the very little subtle change that have the biggest effects...

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