With respect to difficulties in "releasing" into the next turn, Si and Milesb said:
Si:> ...In skiing the moderately steep chute (35-40 degrees? - I'm not great at estimating slope angle) I had a tendency to want to complete my turns close to being across the fall line (not uncommon I think). Accompanying this were a few poor movements and positions that then further inhibited release and flow...
Milesb:> ...On groomers, I generally keep the skis turning farther across the fall line. Although this makes turn initiation a delicate matter, with proper timing, it's a piece of cake. ... 2. In deeper snow, I usually keep the skis closer to the fall line. If it's steep, I need to keep them turning farther across the fall line, which makes turn initiation a very delicate matter. ...
This may be obvious, but in my opinion, one of elements linking these two comments, and which often hinders good release is low velocity of the ski in the direction its actually pointing, whether this is down the hill or across the hill. I'll term this the "longitudinal" or forward velocity of the ski. This is not at all the same as the velocity of the skier's CM. For example, in a purely skidded turn, the skier might be going reasonably fast, but the forward velocity of the skis may be near zero. Unless one thinks carefully about this difference, it can be quite difficult to be aware of low forward velocity when actually skiing.
Whether on hard snow where turning is done on your edges with the help of the ski's sidecut, or on soft snow where turning is done on your bases with the help of the flex of the ski, you need adequate longitudinal velocity to get the ski to work for you. With adequate forward velocity, not only do the skis work for you in the usual ways in the latter phases of turns, but they will also help tremendously in the release/initiation phase as well.
If your forward velocity drops too low, you will be reduced to giving the skis lots of rotary input, and this simply won't work in some snow conditions (without a lot of energy expensive unweighting).
Longitudinal velocity can be very low when one has to stay in a very narrow corredor (eg, a tight chute or liftline) and simultaneously needs to keep one's downhill descent controlled because of steepness. Highly pivoted or jump turns in such terrain are the prime example of turns with low forward velocity, and sometimes there simply aren't many alternatives.
OTOH, in more open terrain, "stalling" by staying far from the fall line for too long has the same effect, but this can be avoided by good technique (ie, timing important here).
In the past couple of years, this insight about forward velocity has "hit me over the head", and if I am turning far from the fall line to control my descent rate, I consciously try to maximize my across the hill speed (when there is room for this) so I don't run into this problem.
Sounds a lot like "skiing the slow line fast", doesn't it?
Just my $0.02,
Tom / PM
PS (in edit) - Finally, to tie the above back to skill transfer between groomed and off-piste, I'll just comment that the forward velocity one needs to get a given pair of skis to "work" for you is pretty much the same whether you are on a smooth or irregular snow surface and can be significant. The difference is that the same speed may feel slow on the groomed, but nerve-wracking in irregular snow because of being bounced around so much.[ March 02, 2003, 08:12 AM: Message edited by: PhysicsMan ]