Trey--good question about weight transfer. Another forum member e-mailed me with the same question. This was my reply:
Regarding weight transfers, we have had a few discussions about this at EpicSki in the past, and you're right--there's a fair amount of disagreement and confusion. I'll rehash my point of view (but there are others).
In "the past" racers did (usually) make very distinct, active weight transfers, literally stepping to the uphill ski before initiating the turn. Today we see much less of that. We often see racers with weight on both skis. So the question naturally arises: "What has changed?"
My answer has been "very little, actually"! First, racers did not ALWAYS step, even in the past. They stepped then only when they needed to--which was "usually." Courses and equipment have changed today, reducing the need for stepping, but racers STILL step whenever they need to.
But some things HAVE changed. "Old" race skis were very stiff, and it took an enormous amount of pressure (and edge angle) to bend them enough to carve a useful turn. This usually meant ALL your weight on one ski, with the other one lifted slightly so it wouldn't interfere with the turn. Today's skis, with their deep sidecut, don't need to bend as much, and they're much softer too, so they bend with a lot less pressure. We CAN bend them both at the same time, so quite often, we DO! The need for all the weight on one ski to carve is no longer there.
So we don't usually need to STEP to the new ski. But there are still several reasons why it makes sense to balance on that outside ski:
1) Biomechanically, we have more control of its edge angle, and tipping movements ("knee in") of the outside ski are stronger than those that tip the inside ski ("knee out").
2) Balancing on the outside ski reserves the inside ski as a "backup." Should the outside ski lose its grip, or the snow give way, or we just lose our balance a little, the inside ski is there to assist or take over.
3) The forces of the turn naturally pull us to the outside ski, just as they pull us to the outside when we take a turn in a car. It takes a lot of extra and unnecessary movement to the inside of the turn to PREVENT a weight transfer, and there's little to gain by doing it.
So "normal," typical turns, which is what I tried to illustrate, involve a weight transfer toward the outside ski as a RESULT of the turn. I call this a "passive" weight transfer, because it takes place IN SPITE of the skier's movements into the turn. There is no active movement toward the outside ski. (And as we've discussed, an active weight transfer causes problems--specifically, it is a "negative movement"--a move up the hill before starting a turn down the hill, a move literally away from the finish line, in the wrong direction. It would interfere with that smooth flow of the center of mass from turn to turn, shown by the red dashed line in my drawings. It also interferes with the ability to steer the new outside ski smoothly into the turn, as we recently discussed in the forum, usually requiring twisting its tail out into a skid with upper body rotation. Beware of taking Lito too literally on this one--that is exactly how his own turns start!)
Because the weight transfer is (mostly) passive, and results from the forces of the turn itself, it tends to take place more quickly, and more completely, in more dynamic turns. The illustrations show this as well.
(I'm almost finished!) There are some very slight potential ADVANTAGES of weighting both skis in a race course. I think the disadvantages outweigh these advantages almost always, but they still probably account for some of the inside ski use we see on the World Cup. Specifically, weighting the inside ski requires the skier to move farther to the inside of the turn, as I noted above. This allows him/her to take a slightly shorter line through the course. Like I said--a SLIGHT advantage! It's no advantage at all if it causes a poorer turn, causes the skier to blow out of the course, hook a tip, or injure a knee! And this advantage applies only to the split-second world of winning races. It is rarely relevant in recreational skiing.
Finally, the very same movements that result in a complete weight transfer in dynamic turns on good groomed snow will result in EQUAL weighting at times. If the outside ski either slips away (ice, dull edges, technical error), or the snow under it gives way (powder, crumbly snow, crud), your balance will shift to some degree toward the inside ski. If it is ready--equally tipped, and steered in the right direction--it can take over seamlessly, as much as needed. You don't have to make any adjustments whatever! In "the past," when that outside ski broke away, racers often made huge, athletic movements to get back on it. Now--watch Hermann Maier especially--they often do nothing at all. They ski on the inside ski often, not because they MEAN to, or HAVE to, or TRY to, but simply because they CAN!
So that's my stance on weight transfer, and I'm sticking to it! The illustrations show "typical" turns; they do not represent a dogmatic approach to "every" turn.
I hope that someone else will present the alternative viewpoints, which include "you should intentionally ski on both skis" on one end of the spectrum, and "you should make an early and active weight transfer for every turn" on the other.
[EDIT] PS--the above may still not address your specific question, Trey. Even when I feel 100% balanced on the outside ski, my inside ski usually brushes gently along on the snow, perhaps kicking up a little wake. This gives me some added sensation of the snow and my relation to it, and allows me to use the inside ski to help steer the outside ski, with the "independent leg steering" mechanism that we've discussed. I would NOT say that I try to put any particular amount of weight on that ski, but it may indeed result in 95%-5% distribution, or something.
[ June 30, 2002, 11:17 AM: Message edited by: Bob Barnes/Colorado ]