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Controlling Radius of Turn -- Bend SKi or Rotary/Skid

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Soliciting opinions.

I've heard some people say you tighten the radius of a turn (tighter than the natural radius of the ski) by bending the ski. I've also heard that you do it by adding rotary movement. That is, you may carve the tip of the ski but add rotary throughout the turn to get a "skarved" turn.

I subscribe to the later method. And wonder if the bending method, to a great extent, is really only in the domain of racers or super experts?

So what I'm curious about is how much does the average skier, or even the very good (e.g. L2/L3 instructor) skier tighten the radius of turn by bending the ski as opposed to adding rotary/skarving?
post #2 of 18

You son't need to skarve to add rotary and tighten the radius of the turn. As a matter of fact, you can bend the ski and add pressure by using pure femur rotation.

If you were laying on your side, on the hill, pressuring the front of the boots isn't going to add much pressure to the front of the skis and bend them. At slightly less severe edge angles, simply pressuring the front of the boot with no rotary input will have the effect of trying to push the front of the ski out of the turn. However, if you rotate your femurs so that your knees point down toward the snow, it will pressure the front of the ski.

I guess that maybe there is the thought out there, that if the skis skid, you are using rotary (true) and if they don't skid, there must not be any rotary (not true).

So, do you tighten the radius by bending the ski or by using rotary? Yes.

You can also tighten the radius by increasing the edge angle. I believe that this method would be the most common way to change the radius of the turn.

What about the fact that if speed remains the same, and turn radius is tightened (say by increasing edge angle), then pressure (bending the ski) will automatically increase, as the G-forces increase.
post #3 of 18
How about both?!

What's the intent?

Bending the ski more can be as simple as moving your point of pressure (arch to heel area) forward just a touch, (directly under arch) or maybe even a little farther (arch to ball of foot). It's a very subtle adjustment.

Then on the Skarve thought, how about just enough to make the turn you want? It's got to be a gentle rotary move, more like steering than twisting. too much and the tails break loose.
post #4 of 18

take a look at your tracks, it should be obvious which you are doing. Carving is prefered by your sensory system because of the positive feedback it produces, however because of the extra speed, it is not always appropriate and when turns need to get tighter or speeds slower then a blend is required.

The designed (Natural?) radius of the ski isn't the sidecut laid flat, but a complex equation of the ski edged and defelected for optimum turning performance. Because the modern ski is so shaped and can be deflected by more average skiers, there are more carved turns out there, where once it was the experts' preserve. But there is a lot of other stuff as well.
post #5 of 18
If you carve a turn you are bending a ski. The amount a ski bends is dictated by the edge angle, the sidecut of the ski, the speed of the skier, the size of the skier, the type of snow, the place on the ski (fore,middle,aft) pressure is directed, and the percentage of pressure assigned to each ski.

Most of these variables are fixed, those that are not can be manipulated by any upper level skier. You don't need to be a world class racer.
post #6 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thanx for the input so far. Just to clarify,
I'm not asking which is correct; I know both techniques and other factors you've mentioned contribute to turn shape. I'm just trying to stimulate conversation so I can understand skill-blending more.
post #7 of 18
There is a limit to the turn radius of the ski. When you carve a turn SMALLER than that radius limitation, there WILL be some skidding, intended or not.

The intent is to GO THERE. In this case, the result physical WILL include some skid.

[ March 10, 2004, 06:45 PM: Message edited by: oboe ]
post #8 of 18
Right Oboe, when the desired shape of the turn exceeds the physical capabilities of the ski to carve something must be supplimented to the carve.

There are many things that can be done to sharpen a radius. Steering, pivoting, rotation and counter rotation as turning forces, stepping. Sometimes these options are added not just to reduce radius but also to reduce speed. Skiing the fast line slow is not always a bad thing. It all depends on intent, there are no rules (as long as you stay in control).
post #9 of 18
So on a steep narrow run is it safe to say that most of your turns will be skidded to some extent?

I seem to have an issue with bringing my skis back uphill quick enough to scrub off speed on very steep and narrow trails. My two choices are usually wipeout or stop at the trail edge or scrub some speed by skidding alittle.
post #10 of 18
Scalce - yes, of course, for the vast majority of us. It has to be. They have to be. If you carved your turns on a steep narrow slope, using a sufficient sidecut ski (my Worldcup SCs are R=10), you accelerate so radically that you go faster than if you straightlined it. That's why most people use a bit of smear/skid in the steep & narrow. Here's how I see things, purely as a student of skiing and turning, not as any type of instructor or guru:

There's the arc -- the ski's sidecut determines that, and you can park on the arc and make continuous turns at your sidecut's radius.

Then there's the carve, which necessarily adds some dynamism in which you vary radius and shape AND type of turn.

Then there's the skarve, which is how the vast majority of skiers "carve" -- very few eliminate the smear, if you can watch their tracks you'll see this.

Finally there's the full skid or full smear. McConkey's "Spatula" ski is designed for this crazy smear-oriented skiing of steep powder faces.
post #11 of 18
I'm getting to the point in my skiing where I am really critical of my movements and I am trying to skid as little as possible.

Getting better makes you more of a fanatic.
post #12 of 18
Originally posted by Scalce:
So on a steep narrow run is it safe to say that most of your turns will be skidded to some extent?

I seem to have an issue with bringing my skis back uphill quick enough to scrub off speed on very steep and narrow trails. My two choices are usually wipeout or stop at the trail edge or scrub some speed by skidding alittle.
If your intent is to scrub speed and there is no space to make a huge turn, then by all means skid those skis. Nothing wrong with that. If you can't control speed in a chute using what ever skills you bring to the table, You don't belong in that chute! How much skid? that depends on how much speed you want to scrub. "Just enough" sounds about right.
post #13 of 18
I can control speed just fine. I only get in trouble when I try something stupid like no skidding at all which we all agree is not good on a steep narrow chute.

I was just wondering how much of a skid is considered a valid tactic versus a flaw in technique.

I know it is a very broad "depends" question but like I said I am trying to refine my technique.

The reason I ask is I am going to Sugarloaf Friday and they have great runs that have a nice sustained pitch and I want to work on a few things.
post #14 of 18
Carve when you can, Skid when you must!

There are no right answers, Only inteligent choices!

If you need to look at the tracks behind you to tell how well you are skiing, you may need to pay more attention!

Do as I say, Don't do as I do!

[Insert your catch axiom here]

"Be Happy, don't worry!" <R. Alpert AKA Baba Ram Dass

post #15 of 18

Skid as much as you want to. My philosophy is, as long as you are doing what you intended, then it is correct. At that point, I consider it "Tactics". You chose the line, the speed, the size of the turn, and do it the way you wanted to.

It's when you intend to carve, but are not able to, that it's a flaw (or some other unintended outcome). If you were to swear up and down that your turns were purley carved, but looking at your tracks in the snow, it was obvious that the tail was not in the same track as the tip and the direction of movement, then I would say it's a flawed turn. However, observing from the chairlift, I have no idea what your intent was.

There is such a thing as a perfectly executed flat spin 180. It's perfect if that's what you intended to do and you were in control the whole time and it felt the way you wanted it to.
post #16 of 18
At Alta in the Supreme chutes (Catherine's area) Led by Rob Sogard and Eric D, we all decided "this is a good place to side sliP"

The intent was move carefully, not create a slide or fall and find out what was under the snow. The whole group made it down safely and with no gouges in our skis.

Tactics anyone?
post #17 of 18
a penny for my thoughts...
subjective observations during my clinics for lvl 2. our group broached this same subject. most of us were of the mind there should be no 'skidding' in short radius turns. in truth this is almost impossible as a psia "short radius turn" is .5-.75 packer widths (~8 ft) on easy terrain (varied conditions). our clinicians assured us that carving a turn does not constitute "arcing" a turn (ie. riding the rail), and some skid at the end of the turn was totally acceptable (if not inevitable) for the psia lvl 2 exam.
boy, were we relieved...so many of us were trying to make every turn perfectly arc'd (i couldn't do it on my volkl g3's & had to buy volant gravity 68's to even get close!). anyway, that's my take...ur thoughts?
post #18 of 18
I like that one, dchan! I remember Eric saying at the Coaches' Panel, "Sideslipping is a good tactical weapon" or something like that.
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