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The short turn - Page 2

post #31 of 83
Very interesting thread - thanks SCSA!
post #32 of 83
Big turns generate big forces.

In competition, the forces may be at the limits of physical strength (G junkies).

If the line chosen is right, just ride the ski.
If it is not right, what can be done about it?
A compensation at critical loading must be accompanied by releasing forces of some kind. Much time may be lost.

The whole of ones commitment must be made at a point and place when the results are not apparent.

I would call that technical.


Raw, Ra, Rah, That's the spirit we have here at More Science High! (FST)
post #33 of 83
I just shot out an email to a friend who works for the USST, seeing if they can give us a non-theoretical reason for the selective usage of the word "technical"! I'll report back when I hear.
post #34 of 83
Relating to longer turns being "more technical"--I agree. The fact that we CAN modify them according to feedback means that to really excel at them, we HAVE to adjust them--well! That brings a whole other area of skill into the game. We must dial up the "perceptual skills" that allow us to monitor the important aspects of the turn, and we have to improve our RESPONSES to those perceptions as well. Unlike short turns, we cannot succeed just by practicing a rote movement over and over until we can do it in our sleep.

Of course, the difference is not black and white--both perceptual and habitual skills are involved in all turns. But I do remember when the Mahre twins returned to racing on the Pro Tour several years after retiring from the US Ski Team. They dominated slalom almost immediately, taking 1st and 3rd (they couldn't be 1st and 2nd, because one eliminated the other in the semi-final round) in their first slalom race, after just a day or two of training. But their Giant Slalom success was slower to return. They, themselves, explained that GS was much more of a "feel" thing, and that they EXPECTED it to take longer to come back.

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #35 of 83
I always found it interesting that GS was the easiest discipline to start racing, but the hardest to do well in (in my opinion). I prefer the technical disciplines over the speed ones, because the changes you have to make can be so finite that sometimes the smallest thing can be the biggest breakthrough.

I think that since slalom's "evolution" over the last few years, it gets kinda blurry as to which is the more technical discipline.
post #36 of 83
The need to develop sensitivity to minute environmental cues would explain why the short turn matures faster than the long turn. Thanks to those who clarified that for me.


My husband and I traveled to Lost Trail to ski with Jim, it must have been ten years ago. Standing at the top of a run I had never skied before, he asks, "Do you like it fast or slow?" Of course, we say, "Fast!" He just gave us a Mona Lisa look and took off, the directive to keep up an unnecessary use of words.

I tried. My husband tried. We never got close. The guy just screams, and he was what--close to 60? That was the start of a lovely day. I learned so much. You are incredibly lucky to live close enough to partake of Yoda's wisdom on a somewhat regular basis.
post #37 of 83
Ok - from the horses mouth (or "A" horses mouth at least):


Both SL and GS are refereed to by us at the USST as technical events while SG and DH are refereed to as speed events. Why they chose the term "technical" exactly, I couldn't tell you. I would guess that is goes back quite a while when the differences in speed between the two sets was much greater than it is today. And as you inferred, the technical process in making many turns as opposed to the less technical fewer turns in SG/DH.

It could certainly be argued all four events are certainly equally technical in nature, and all four events involve speed but this is just the terminology that is used.

Sorry I can't give you a better answer than that.

Best regards,

Jeff Weinman
National Alpine Competition Manager
United States Ski and Snowboard Association

[ August 09, 2002, 10:50 AM: Message edited by: GravityGuru (Todd) ]
post #38 of 83
Well, that certainly answers that! Thanks,, Todd!
post #39 of 83
Last year, we were talikng about the fact that Steadman, Picabo's ortho, allowed her to do Downhill, but not GS. Some comments from Todd:

"I would suspect that the forces in DH can equal or surpass those exprienced by athletes in GS. However I wonder if the reason GS might be harder on the knees is due to:
A) Transient Forces: The forces in DH may equal or exceed those in GS, however they also build more gradually through each turn. Each turn in GS is of high intensity but short duration, whereas they are of high intensity but long duration in DH. Would this mean that the ligaments and other structures have more time to adjust? Would this mean that the skier has more time to get into proper alignment in each turn?

B) Because of the higher speed, and perhaps higher forces in DH - there seems to be normally a fuller leg extension at the apex of each turn in DH as compared to GS. Does this fuller leg extension set up the skeletal structure to take more of the brunt of the forces, reliving the ligaments of some of the stress?"

If we were to assume that this is the correct answer, then it leads to some interesting ideas. The student skier who is still in the stages of forming a comletely different type of relationship with gravity than they're used to, may lean towards a longer type of turn. This gives them the time to explore and adjust to the changes in alignment. As they progress, the alignment becomes more instinctual. The reaction time quikens as agility is improved. There is less conscious thought about the technical aspects of the turn. As a result, the skier can be both reactive and proactive.

Which I gues would be important pre requistite traits for making short turns???
post #40 of 83
I think I used to be smarter than I am now.

post #41 of 83
Thread Starter 

I really don't think there's any conclusions to be made by Steadman's recommendation to Picabo.

First, it's just one case. Second, Picabo has gone on record saying that she felt the reason why she was never able to regain top form wasn't because of her injury.

It was because she never really adapted to shaped skis. Picabo said, that with more work on her technique, she felt she could have reached peak performance.

Which just goes to show. The technique for shaped skis, really is different.

post #42 of 83
FYI, among orthopods in the mountain states, Steadman is considered a famous surgeon mainly because of his Public Relations skills and his love of the limelight.

For my own injured knee, I'd rather have a top-flight SURGEON, not a superior advertiser, as my orthopod. That's why Steadman doesn't even show on my radar screen.

We now return you to our regularly scheduled discussion of "which is more technical, SL or GS?"
post #43 of 83
I like your definition of the short swing turns. I prefer them because it lets me go just about anywhere I want too at a controlled decent.
post #44 of 83
Short swing is no longer the pre-eminent short turn that it was when I got certified. Today's short radius turn is rounded without excessive braking whereas the old short swing is a fall-line pivot with skidding to a crisp edgeset/pole plant, progressed at through hockey slides with a stop or fall-line wedge turns.

The short swing is a human-powered turn, developed when skis were less cooperative than today's models. The modern short radius turn is a tool-based turn.

Short swing prepares the learner for hop turns.

[ August 11, 2002, 07:28 AM: Message edited by: nolo ]
post #45 of 83
Short swing prepares the learner for hop turns.
I disagree with this statement, but think you are right about old verses new in short swing turns. What about an Expert skier that uses short radius turns for very steep tight tree skiing?
post #46 of 83
>>> Today's short radius turn is rounded without excessive braking<<<

nolo, what bothers me is that even while watching expert skiers trying to short swing by 'skiing' the cross-under, meaning there is little side movements of the skis compared to the forward movement of the tracking skis, they keep gaining speed until they have to throw in an hard braking edge set to slow down.

In what you described of the short swing in the olden days, and which I still practice today, at the end of EACH TURN we lost the speed gained during the fall line phase so that we could ski a mile on any terrain without gaining more speed than wanted. That involved a whole lot of quick brushing sideway movement of the ski tails before gaining a hard edge set or check.

It was demonstrated to me that short swing turns could be made while carving the whole turn. That worked on flat terrain, but on steeper stuff it took so long to bring the carving skis far enough around to control speed that it was not a short swing anymore. Not by a long shot.

post #47 of 83
Everyone seems to agree that short turns require ingrained technique. what is this technique? How do I do a short turn PSIA style? PMTS style? I'd love to be able to "machine gun" my way down a slope but I tend to traverse and turn like Nolo (who BTW, IMHO is the "stealth" brain around here [img]smile.gif[/img] mentioned. This is why i like slalom skis: they do the turn for you more or less.
post #48 of 83
Actually GS skis do the turn "for you" equally as well as SL skis, its simply a differently shaped turn. But of course either ski can do either turn, they simply have different areas of strength/weakness.

Terminator style liquid metal skis that can change flex, length and sidecut on demand . . . thats still what I want!

Good observations on SL turns above. For knowing you can get down every single possible terrain and snow condition, a solid short turn is required. You do often see this overdone, in that if somebody is not comfortable with the rhythm and speed differences in a longer turn they will end up perhaps working more than they need to in a given situation. But when a skier is using SL turns out of need and choice, it is of course a powerful tool!
post #49 of 83
Trey – While many may not agree I believe “short “ turns are like putting in golf. You do what works for you and develop your own style. The result is if you develop your own “feel” for the turn you do, role from edge to edge or slip and slide or two foot steering or foot to foot or…. Whatever works for you in any situation you encounter you will be able to let your self down the steep terrain on bumps in good control at a decent comfortable speed for you. Another words you will be able to ski the short turn and really feel balance and in solid control. Some skiers are fast footed and some or not. Due to this varying degree of “quickness” I believe skiers develop a different means to meet the same end. I use to ski with a fellow we called “fast foot Freddie”. He could make more turns down the backside of a short bump than any other skier I have seen to this day. We could ski together him his way and me my way and still meet at the bottom of the run. Yes he did look a lot more awesome than I did. The point is as an instructor it is my job to take you the skier and build on what your abilities are and can be and not mold you into a predisposed shape. Back to the golf swing, the key is to be square at impact (gosh don’t I wish) and not how I get there or leave.

Is this to say all the elements of skiing are still not required? Nope you still need good balance, ability to be quick at “steering” or I prefer turning your feet, movement from “edge” to edge, the confidence to move into the fall line while your feet are “catching” up etc. You may put them together a little differently to compensate for one element that is not quite as strong as another. Personally as a generality I like to build short turns from a sideslip to a pivot slip to modified hop turn and then quite it all down and see what happens while modifying the terrain along the way sometimes up and sometimes down. If all comes together a student will develop a style of his or her own. If it is a style I see developing with good basic elements I like to take the student and move on from there.

As an example watch a good bump skier and then watch a professional bump skier. I think you will see a very different “style” in each Personally I prefer the “softer” style versus the knee “banger”. It may be because I was never a “fast foot Freddy” so I have to use more technical skiing than fats foot recovery or whatever it was he did that I couldn’t!

By the way I guess this is the long way of saying I don't think there is a PSIA, PMTS, or......turn. There is your solid style and what you did to get there.
post #50 of 83
Why, thank you Trey, for the nicest thing I've heard today!

I suppose "excessive braking" is in the mind of the doer. Maybe the term should be the minimum necessary braking, based on one's need to protect themselves.

Certainly short turns on steep terrain will involve skidding. I'll invoke one of Harald Harb's measures in giving a quality guideline: the point at which the skis are used as a tool defines the quality of the short turn, just as it defines the quality of the long turn. The earlier, the better. If the skis aren't performing until Phase-3 of the turn, e.g., a hop-pivot-edgeset, that's not going to be as high quality as moving to the new edges early through retraction (or crossing the skis under the body and releasing with early edge engagement). The feet take a longer, rounder path than the body, and the skier uses pressure and edge angles to create the necessary friction to control speed earlier in the turn. It's a skidded turn, accent on the friction, but it's not a low-quality turn by any measure.

It's a turn that can be stopped on a dime, or at the edge of a cliff. It's a turn that can go many reps, which a hop turn cannot.

What I regret about my own skiing is how chicken I am on steep terrain, how much I use friction to keep a sedate and controlled speed. Sometimes I go out with the young bucks just to beat myself up over this weakness. They fly down the steeps, just skimming down between turns where I auger in the edges. When I quicken my pace, my timing isn't up to the challenge and I fall apart and feel ragged.

I'm sure that my students would be open-mouthed in disbelief to hear me say this, as they see me as the one laughing at gravity, and them painstakingly picking a path.

The point being, there's always room to improve.

Anyway, what do you think of Harald's "measure of merit?"
post #51 of 83
nolo, you have a good way explaining ski tech. I could learn alot from just talking with you. Utah? [img]smile.gif[/img] The further I get my skis away from my center(rounder turns)the more power and balance I feel. Thanks
post #52 of 83
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, thus letting them turn enough to control speed while keeping the upper body in the fall line.
But you know what, it's a real hassle to carve short turns on the steeps, and I seldom bother, unless showing off for Ryan.
"See Ryan, it's easy!"

[ August 11, 2002, 10:21 AM: Message edited by: milesb ]
post #53 of 83
I think in the last few posts we are actually talking about two different turns. The short turn and the short swing.

By no means is a slalom turn, except in a flush, considered a short swing though it can be, and mostly is, a short turn.

Short turns take the body in and around the turn describing a wavy line, while a short swing keeps the body going straight down the fall line with the tails of the skis swinging out in varying degrees matched to the steepness of the terrain. The steeper the terrain the quicker the movements. Slow movement will result in a squatting at the end of the turns.

As to constant speed in short/turns/swing everybody has their comfort zone, a trade off between speed and control.

post #54 of 83
Nice topic SCSA

Short turns are indeed the "preeminent" ski turn. They will show up any technique issues with all skiers.

I have lost count of the number of students that want a serious bump clinic but cannot link more that 5 shorts on a medium pitch .... Why, well usually it is a lack of foot steering and lack of a relaxed centered position. (ski core)

Short turns are like teasing the snow surface. Each turn is a dance step on an elusive platform. Snow texture (pow, ice, cord etc,) boot flex, ski flex, edge hold, ski turn radius, body core response, balance etc all come into play for just a touch in each turn. The feet must be light but you can slam the skis for rebound. Each ski cross under is a finite opportunity for the body to center itself over the turn platform before the motions of the turn come again. It does not matter whether the turns are slow on the flat or quick on a pitch. To execute a run of linked short turns is the goal that becomes “expert” status. In a learning progression, medium turns are about feeling safe on a sliding platform, long turns about using the platform and short turns are about controlling the platform.

That’s my bit anyway ….

Oz [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #55 of 83
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 ]
post #56 of 83
Dynamic short turns in the PSIA CenterLine sense are considerably different from short swing in the pre-CenterLine era. The latter actually served as a speed control while descending steep terrain. The skier's speed while executing the dynamic short turn increases with the slope and the length of time practiced.
post #57 of 83
Short swing is no longer the pre-eminent short turn that it was when I got certified. Today's short radius turn is rounded without excessive braking whereas the old short swing is a fall-line pivot with skidding to a crisp edge set/pole plant, progressed at through hockey slides with a stop or fall-line wedge turns.

The short swing is a human-powered turn, developed when skis were less cooperative than today's models. The modern short radius turn is a tool-based turn.
With respect …. An utter nonsense statement!!!!

I swear that short turns have always been a tool based turn. I learnt to do short turns in both “up” and “down” motion variants. The binding component of both variants was ones ability to “USE the ski” to “MEET the situation”. I can do your “modern short turn” on a pair of circa 1985 203 Volk P9 slalom skis or a pair of circa 2002 157 Ross Slaloms.

The Volks of course made a larger radius rounded turn but a short one none the less. So why quote doctrine about “the modern short turn” when in a real on hill situation the only “skier movement” differentiation is the turn radius … and why …. Because of course your “modern short turn” ideal is based on a very short turny ski.

So it would appear that the new ideal is to teach “down motion” turns on really short skis and say “look it is a new way of doing things” …… bahhhhh!!

How do you slow down a short “I want to turn” type ski that is constantly on edge … you turn more, turn more uphill or hit the skids? What has changed there? Yep the skis got shorter and as milesb points out softer … so all the skier has too do is soften the physical turn dynamics to match the market (i.e. short on groomed) BUT when the hill gets steep one better liven up or the rocky ravine at the bottom will beckon.

So here we are skiing steeps with the young bucks and we get out of our comfort zone and so we use the short turn mechanics that the situation dictates NOT the doctrine theoretical mechanics of the “new short turn”.

Please don’t quote the theory and then discard it on the hill.


[ August 11, 2002, 09:28 PM: Message edited by: man from oz ]
post #58 of 83
I think this discussion is bogging down on definitions (as is so often the case). It could be that "short" vs. "long" is not really the issue at all--as I suggested in a post several days ago. This is reminiscent of other discussions we've had where someone has tried to push a big distinction based on a parameter that in many ways doesn't matter any more than the color of your skis (I suggest the hated wedge/parallel debate as another example--what matters is NOT the wedge vs. parallelness of the skis, but the mechanics of the movements. Forget I brought this up....)

Clearly, there are turns where the skis can carve a fairly clean turn, on edge from initiation through completion. New skis--especially the very short, very deep sidecut slalom skis--can do this at extremely short radius. And there are turns that are TIGHTER than this, where the skis must either be twisted and skidded around, or else they must be turned FIRST, before the edges are engaged cleanly (the classic slalom turn).

THAT, to me is the real distinction. Again, I'll suggest the analogy of a car. Cars can turn a variety of different turn radii, depending on how far you turn the wheel. There really isn't much significant difference between the technique of making a long, gradual turn in a car, and a fairly tight turn.

But once you turn the steering wheel as far as it can go--all the way to the lock--that's the limit for this "type" of turn. To make a tighter turn, you need a different technique--you've got to either throw the car into a skid, back-and-fill, or lift up the car, turn it, set it back down, and drive off in the new direction.

The classic slalom turn, like the hop turn, resembles this "lift, turn, then engage the edges and go the new direction" move. It was very important with long, straight "old" skis, and it is still important, even though the new skis have a much smaller turning radius than the old ones. The new skis are like doing u-turns with a little sports car, vs. doing u-turns with a truck--you can actually just drive 'em around!

Did that make any sense?

To throw one final wrench into the discussion, many racers--Phil and Steve Mahre among them--use the terms "short turn" and "long turn" VERY differently than anyone has suggested in this discussion. When they say "short turn," they mean an "incomplete turn," a turn that does not change direction very much--like a flush in a slalom course--regardless of the radius. And a "long turn" is a very complete turn, as in gates far offset across the hill. So, in their terms, you can make long or short slalom turns, and long or short GS turns.... Most confusing, eh?

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #59 of 83
My post was not about ski lenght but rather the fact that there seems to be a push for a pure edged short turn as the "new model" and this push seems to be based on the assumption that everyone is skiing groomers on short skis.

Bob you used the analogy of the car\truck turning relationship. Basically that is exactly what I was on about.

Seems to me that certain areas of ski teaching only seem to recognise the sports car model and put all students in the Schumacher skills basket.

I have seen many a blank look in ski clinics when the "new model" short turn is described and then can only be demonstrated in a "perfect circuit" environment.

Basically the theory seems to be drifting from the reality.

post #60 of 83
> ...there seems to be a push for a pure edged short turn as the "new model" and this push seems to be based on the assumption that everyone is skiing groomers on short skis....

Hi Oz -

a) I think you are correct in that there is indeed a push in the direction of a new short turn, but as per my previous post, I would describe the desired turn simply as "carved", and not as "pure edged" because the latter term is only for firm surfaces, whereas the former term also includes carved turns in powder and slop where the longitudinal flex of a soft ski can allow the turn radius to be much shorter than the sidecut radius (ie, consider turns in powder on classic soft powder boards which have 60+ meter sidecut radii).

b) IMHO, I think that "the assumption" behind this push is exactly the opposite of what you said. Namely, in any sort of irregular snow (eg, cut up powder, deep slop, icy death cookies, ruts, etc.), the last thing you ever want to do is have your skis moving sideways over the snow (ie, skidding). Skis work much better under irregular snow conditions if they are moving purely lengthwise (carving), but the problem is that until recently it has been almost impossible to make carves of sufficiently short radius to be useful for speed control on steeper slopes.

Now, with modern skis, we finally have the ability to do tight carves, so we can now emphasize carving and deemphasize strongly skidded turns and yet still have adequate speed control. So, where this "new push" really benefits us is under nasty snow conditions, and not just on the groomers as you suggested. What it gives us is a way to do bombproof turns without having to spend enormous amounts of energy hopping turn after turn around or performing other athletic maneuvers.

> ...I have seen many a blank look in ski clinics when the "new model" short turn is described and then can only be demonstrated in a "perfect circuit" environment. ...

I think that's the problem of the demonstrators and/or their equipment, not a fundamental limitation of this technique.

As an example of the opposite, at the end of last season, in heavy, deep, gripping slop in which my 184 10ex's would ride with their tips 3 or 4 inches under the surface, I could make tightly carved turns on a steep black run in which I would only descend by 4 or 5 vertical feet with each turn, ending each in perfectly level traverses. I used absolutely no unweighting or muscular rotary input to get the skis out of the snow and around.

I think you would have to agree that 184 10ex's are anything but short SL skis, and the conditions were anything but a manicured groomer.

Absolutely no one is claiming that every turn under all conditions must be a pure carve to be "good technique". For example, if I am descending a crowded groomed slope, I will want to stay in as a narrow corridor as possible and have my speed under tight control. This is the perfect place for the old shortswing or some similar heavily skidded turn. It is certainly *not* the place to carve and wind up going 20 mph across the hill and right into the paths of other descending skiers.

On the other hand, "good technique" (ie, appropriate, efficient technique) in the steep slop that I described earlier, a race course, or any of a variety of other situations is exactly the opposite -- minimize skidding and maximize carving.

Just my $0.02,

Tom / PM
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