|Originally posted by milesb:
Ott, what you are seeing is the result of experts skiing on stiff skis. Try shortswing on the steeps using soft skis (such as Chubbs), and you will be surprised at how early in the turn the skis can carve...
Milesb - I agree totally (except, like Ott, I would save the term shortswing for more brushed turns, not turns approaching the very short radius carves that you can get out of modern soft skis).
I suspect you probably had steep, but normally packed snow in mind when you made the above statement. Another situation where the benefits of modern softer skis are even more important, and a good short carved turn is virtually essential, is on long pitches of steep & deep (over 6") extremely heavy snow / slop / glop.
I also feel that this situation is an excellent one in which to perfect this type of turn because it gives you immediate feedback on any imperfections in your technique.
Because the pitch is presumed steep, your turns have to be of short radius, or else you will pick up too much speed. Because the pitch is long (or, more likely, my age is showing - grin), you (I) need to be as energy efficient as possible, so you (I) certainly don't want to resort to hopped turns. Because of the (presumed) deeply rotted snow and no unweighting, you can't resort to traditional sideways skidding. Even if you could feather a bit of a traditional skid in this snow, you certainly don't want to encourage this since you will probably wind up on your side if the snow/slop is at all inconsistent or cut up.
So, you are left with learning how to crank out short radius pure carves in this snow using no unweighting.
The main difference between carves on a packed groomer versus in heavy snow/slop is that in the former, little snow is displaced, whereas in the latter, your skis will compress the snow underneath them and cause it to move out to both sides as you pass over new uncompressed material.
When pulling G's in a banked fast carved turn on such snow, you skis will indeed be moving sideways relative to fixed objects on the hill because they are compressing the snow underneath them (ie, in a line with your lower leg, which is not vertical). However, it is definitely still a carved turn because your skis are not moving sideways over the snow that is directly underneath them. The difference in sensation between the two types of carves requires a bit of "getting used to".
The displacement of snow out from under your skis induces much shearing of the snow both with respect to your skis and with respect to the hill. This dissipates a huge amount of energy, and even has a name, "displacement drag" (cf. "Physics of Skiing"). Because of the shearing motion relative to the underlying snow, this particular form of friction is significantly higher when carving on steep slopes in this snow (compared to straightlining them), and thus keeps your speed strongly in check as long as you keep turning.
As Milesb pointed out, modern, softer, deeply sidecut skis help out a lot in executing short carved high-g turns in the steeps, especially on the sort of snow we have been talking about. The wide tips of such skis compress the snow the least, the tails a bit more, and the region underfoot compresses the snow the most. Thus, the ski is strongly put into reverse camber, and effectively, the tail always keeps coming around the turn faster than the tip, and presto, you have a turn of surprisingly short radius. For want of a better term, I think of these as "compression carved" turns in contrast to the usual sidecut carved turns on groomers.
BTW, I did not use powder as an example because other factors come into play in powder, and miserable slop is a lot easier to find than good powder [img]smile.gif[/img]
Tom / PM
PS (added in edit) - At least for us heavier guys, I almost think the pendulum has swung too far towards softness. Such skis come around almost too fast in soft steep snow.[ August 11, 2002, 01:43 PM: Message edited by: PhysicsMan ]