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MA request on short carving turns

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 

Hello everyone,


This is my first post although I've met a few of the Philly area folks already.  I have been working on short radius carving turns and pole work.  I was trying to minimize the skidding in the turns but it looks like I'm still throwing a fair amount of snow.  I'm not really sure what the deal is with the floppy pole on the left side, it looks like I'll have to work on keeping that even with my boots.   Would like to know what you guys think about the skiing.  The skis are Head Supershape Speed 177cm.


post #2 of 20

The sloppy pole use is a symptom of something else happening in the upper body. Do you notice what's happening at the transition? The skis are getting further apart and skidding. Could be from dropping the shoulder and following the skis, or it could be from how you get from one set of edges to the next (the transition move you are using). Hard to say without actually getting more information from you.

post #3 of 20
Thread Starter 

Yea I noticed the leg separation also.  I'm not sure what information would help in the diagnosis though .  I was trying to use an outside leg retraction followed by a new outside ankle roll to start the turn in the other direction.  My aim with the poles was the keep my inside hand forward but there could have been a downward component to that motion.  If you are looking for other information about what I was trying to do, just ask, I'll do my best to answer it.  I might not know all the perfect terminology for such a precise sport though, I'm basically self-taught at this with lessons lined up for Winter Park next week.

post #4 of 20

you're not centering your weight over the center of the ski and using all the edge, all the time. you're doing micor-management of front-rear weight bias (see how your tails tend to skid, then bite?)


try a flatter stance, more in the upright position, hands out front and forget your poles are there. they'll swing when the need to by themselves.


get your weight over the arches of your feet for the duration of the aggressive run and just concentrate on tying to keep it there. the steering should come naturally. if you're still sliding/slipping -- consider whether you got a ski tune recently -- and was it a race tune (asymmetric), or a run of the mill tune? It's worthwhile to tune your boards nightly at the shop if you're on vacation. It makes a huge difference.


If you're on a budget get some swiss files and some iron on wax to do it yourself. You'll notice the difference immediately. Just make sure you have a PRO show you how to tune your skis yourself before you destroy an edge with a rat tail rasp...


-- f9a 

post #5 of 20

I don't think leg separation is that big a deal as long as it's done totally symmetrically and with some purpose. You can actually pick up some speed by separating the legs to shoulder width and bringing them a bit closer together at the neutral point of the turn. This has to be qualified that you're still edging 60/40 inside to outside ski edge, though, and I don't think you're near that ratio. Maybe 80/20. It *looks* like you're trying to stay balanced, but you're obviously weight biased back to front and back all the way down the pitch.



Hope that helps some.


-- f9a 

post #6 of 20
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the insight f9a and JustAnotherSkiPro.  I can see what you mean with the shoulders following the skis around instead of staying pointed down the hill.  The tune was 1/3 but is most likely in need of a touchup at this point, it's about 5 ski days old.  I do feel the weight shifting from the front of my foot at the beginning of the turn toward the heels by the end.  Is there any mental guides that will help me to stay more upright or is just a matter of doing it?

post #7 of 20

I'd say you gave us a lot more info Paul. What I was hoping to read was your intent which you gave us. The outside leg retraction doesn't imply a weight shift to the other ski, which is part of the problem. You almost look like you're stepping to the new ski because the old outside ski is skidding. Almost. Insofar as the tail wash being from levering I'd say it has more to do with the rotory in the hips. Notice you are using some counter rotary in the torso to keep the shoulders facing downhill but the hips close to the hill and  the inside hip drops back as a consequence of trying to force the skis around with the hip rotation. The telltale sign here is the push to an edge look of the outside ski that breaksdown because the hips are dropping back and away from the outside ski which eventually loses edge purchase. 

I also noticed the outside leg doesn't flex and allow you to move across the skis. It's staying in the way, which requires you to go around it. Think of a tug of war for a minute. If you flex and relax the front leg the pull of the rope will make your hips move towards the other person but they will move parallel to the ground as well. Your hips drop back and then come up and over.

I wish we could go out and play with some ideas that I use to correct this in my students but Philly is a long way from Keystone. If you're interested I could e-mail you a copy of one of my papers, or powerpoint presentations on the subject. I think once you understand how to get from one set of edges to the next better a lot of those extra moves will dissappear.

Edited by justanotherskipro - 2/10/2009 at 09:13 pm
post #8 of 20
Thread Starter 

Yes it's quite far for a day trip   Thank you for the offer on the learning materials, I've PMd you my email address.  I'll summarize what I've gotten so far and see if my understanding is on the right track.  It seems that even though I'm thinking I'm lightening my outside leg, I'm not really believing in the transition and so I'm keeping it stiff.  This causes an up and over motion in the hips instead of a straight line to the inside of the turn.  Since the transition isn't clean, weight isn't being transferred to the new outside ski until later in the transition and since the ski isn't turning on its own (no weight no bend) I'm doing it with hip rotary movements.


Is this on track?

post #9 of 20

That sounds somewhat correct pfblack. You are not initiating the transition via a relaxation of the outside leg in this video. Find some mellow terrain and practice the movements slowly and deliberately. Flex the outside leg, tip the now inside foot, and just wait for the turn to happen. These inital turns will be large and fairly low angle but they will connect you with the sensations of a carved turn and allow you to build from there. Post some video of doing that and instructors here will be able to give you the foundational feedback you can use to progress rapidly.


post #10 of 20
Thread Starter 

Onyxjl, thanks for the drill.  I'm planning on getting some snow time in on Saturday so I should have video of this exercise.  If there are any other drills that would be helpful to see, let me know.

post #11 of 20

Paul, lightening the outside ski isn't exactly the whole picture. Getting the ski off edge by reducing the edge angle is a different focus than thinking about pressure. Think more about getting that ski flatter as you approach the transition. Go back and watch where you are at the end of the turn when the strong edging is taking place. From apex to apex your task is to get from one set of high edges to the next. Through the rest of the turn you are either increasing edge angle (first third), or reducing it (last third). If you can focus your efforts on getting the skis to bite harder when they are directly in the fall line, they will respond by dynamically turning without the skid. As the transition begins keeping them working and turning across the hill involves turning the legs but not forcing it by turning the shoulder/hips/etc. That extra angular momentum is what is causing you problems. Your body being tipped so far inside the turn as you turn the hips drops the inside hip (and the inside half of the pelvis) back and down (turning towards the inside of the turn). It should be staying over the inside foot a little more. The inside foot may be a bit forward because of the slope and the boot not allowing that ankle to flex enough to keep it under the hip. This means some inside tip lead is inevitable. If the hips don't also have a little lead it makes it very hard to focus our balance on the outside ski without picking up the inside ski. This is where pressure come into the picture. Not enough pressure on the outside ski allows it to lose edge purchase to some degree. Exactly how much depends on how much pressure we have on the inside ski. Foot to foot pressure changing because of the hip rotation increases inside ski pressure is another way to say this. Leaving you only a few options to get pressure back on the outside ski. A strong edging move along with more pressure does this and can be seen in your establishment of the strong edge platform at the end of the turn.

The tug of war drill should help you feel the different ways to get the hips and torso to start moving towards the new turn as well as help you focus on keeping pressure on the outside leg as it flexes. Another way to feel this is to stand on one leg and move up and down by flexing and extending that leg. Imagine the vertcal move now being vertical to the ski (tilted inside the turn perpendicular to the ski not the Earth).


In short turns especially we may not have the time to lengthen the inside leg to get our hips and torso into the new turn. Which is the other way to get from one set of edges to the other. The tug of war is again a good way to feel that though. Try it and focus on how the two ways to release a turn feel. This time instead of flexing the front leg and moving the hips parallel to the ground, try extending the back leg and pushing the hips into the new turn. We need both move in our repetoire and both can be used for short turns. Although I think once you feel both you will choose to flex the outside leg while allowing the skis to flatten. Its a more direct move into the new turn.

Edited by justanotherskipro - 2/11/2009 at 03:09 pm
post #12 of 20
Thread Starter 

I've added some videos from this weekend, I apolgize for the graininess and length.  The first two are me working to increase the edge angles to the apex, then decrease them to flat and back around.  I was focusing on lowering pressure on the outside leg to flatten the ski.  I still see the A frame in the turn to the left, I think something's going on alignment wise with my right ankle/boot/ski interface.  I can traverse to the left on the left ski's outside edge just fine but I can't get the same balance on an uphill ski traverse to the right.  These turns are larger radius than the ones I attempted in the previous videos.




The third video is me trying onyxjl's flexing and tipping... I only had room to do two turns though and the slope was rather crowded.



post #13 of 20


The hips are still pretty static, and the legs aren't moving through much range of motion. Here's a couple drills to help you discover a wider range of movement. 

Tall / short stance drill: Make four turns as absolutely tall as you can be. If you're 6' reach up for 6'2". Folow that with trying to do short turns. Try to ski a low as you can without tucking. Then try linking a tall turn and a short turn. Then try ten or twenty of them alternating which side is tall / short. Then try being short through the transition and tall at the fall line (it is important to use same range of movement throughout entire the drill). This may seem like a lot of drilling but it should help you discover just how lillte of your possible range of movement you are currently using.

Another drill that will help you discover how your core affects things is to do hula hip circles while traversing then straight running. Make sure you stay on a very shallow slope at first so you can concentrate on the movements instead of being distracted by the steepness of the slope. Imagine you are playing with a hula hoop as you move the hips around in a circle. As you gain confidence slow down the movement until it feels like you're doing it in slow motion. Notice I am not saying much about the rest of the body, or what the skis will do. It's not a secret but I want you to discover that without me shifting your focus away from the movements. Go play with the move and post what you discovered.

I WOULD ASK EVERYONE ELSE TO NOT POST RESULTS UNTIL PAUL HAS A CHANCE TO DO SO. We don't want to color the experiment by shifting his focus to the outcome. Once he has shared that by all means please post your results as well. Thanks in advance for your cooperation, JASP

post #14 of 20
Thread Starter 

Hi guys, sorry for the delay and I appreciate your patience.  I experimented with the hula hoop exercise and found that I was going into fairly nice carved turns without really thinking about going into turns, eventually putting together a nice rhythm.  I fell a few times when my hip went further out past the ski than the turn could support and I rode the outside edge of the inside ski to the ground.  My takeaway from this is that I can initiate turns with hip motion only.  My concern based on other analyses and discussion is that this may be too high to start a motion, based on my falling over during the hula hoop.



Edited by pfblack - 2/19/2009 at 01:51 am
post #15 of 20

Your concerns are based on an idea as presented in the kinetic chain theory. The simple version being that "Movements originating in the feet and moving up through the body". This mantra has led to so much confusion about how we move while skiing. The idea of the feet leading the movements implies that the rest of the body lags behind the feet. If you think about it for a minute that also means the rest of the body waits to participate in balancing activities. This disconnect can be seen in all the skiers who never move their body to help stay balanced over their skis. Which results in them never really achieving a balanced stance either, IMO this is because they take the Kinetic Chain idea too literally and they forget another important idea.

That idea is that the entire body needs to participate in balancing activities simultaneously. So even though a movement may feel like it originates in the feet, any change in our base of support requires the rest of the body to respond to achieve balance. Think of the hips, legs and feet (and the ground) as forming a parallelogram. They're connected and when one part of it moves the rest of it moves simultaneously. Contemporary skiing uses a lot more balancing from the whole body because we seldom use the stepping or sequential edge change movements of the past. 


The polar opposite of this is what happens in the hip circle (hula) drill. By moving the other end of the parallelogram, the legs articulate simultaneously to adjust our stance. Ironically, it also quiets down the leg movements which produces the clean arcs you experienced. This is because we aren't trying to add extraneous movement from the lower legs. As you probably also noticed this doesn't produce complete turns, just a cleaner turn entry. Adding leg moves to shape the turn after getting the body moved into the new turn is another piece of the drill but the main focus right now is to introduce a wider range of motion in the hips /core. .


It also works a bit of the good turn, bad turn type of drill in that we move through a wide range of body positions and we need to figure out on the fly how to remain upright. By the way falling wasn't an intended outcome of the drill. I'm sorry I didn't warn you that falling might happen if you move too far outside your base of support. Play with the idea of making your turn entry while allowing the hips to move towards the apex of the new turn and I think you will discover that getting the hips and the body more aligned over the skis will allow you to stay balanced through the transition from the apex of one turn to the apex of the next turn.

BTW thank you for being a willing participant in the hula drill. I designed it a few years ago after a clinic with Tom Hazard. I use it a lot with students when they're not allowing their pelvis to move enough to contribute to creating a balanced stance. The basis is in how the feet and core move during a turn.I'm sure the dual paths concept isn't new to you Paul. The feet and the body don't follow the same path down the hill. The feet travel a wider, and rounder path and as such they are actually moving faster than the core. They have to since they are covering more ground during the same time frame. Getting the two paths integrated so we can remain standing is a challenge. IMO not allowing the core to move and actively participate in this balancing act upsets this interplay. Much like a duet where one singer is out of sync (too early/late) the whole piece suffers from a lack of synchronicity.







Edited by justanotherskipro - 2/19/2009 at 05:32 pm


Edited by justanotherskipro - 2/19/2009 at 05:35 pm
post #16 of 20
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the additional insight on the drill.  I was very surprised with how clean the turns were.  I can understand the requirement for simultaneous balancing and am going to keep working on moving the hips to the inside of the turn.  I can feel the hip motion although the way I've been feeling it is that the skis are flying to the sides more so than the hips moving to the inside.  I know that the angles will be the same, is this a good way to think about it also?

post #17 of 20

 Paul, The overall objective of my advice is to explore just how far we can reach inside the turn with the pelvis/hips. Yes, the feet are on their own path so feeling them moving a different direction is also very important but for now try to concentrate on getting the hips moving. Since moving the hips is a new movement it may feel like you are moving them more than you actually are. Exaggerating the move usually produces the right range of movement. So go outside and play with the move with the idea of keeping the feet relatively anchored. Just be careful to avoid hurting yourself if you fall.

post #18 of 20

hula drill, sounds very interesting, got any video ? so you hula to the left to turn left and hula to the right to turn right ?




post #19 of 20


Hmmm... I guess I should produce an article and a video but to this point I've never filmed them because  the movement is pretty simple. Move the hips in a circular path as you are going straight down an easy slope. The bunny hill, or a flat catwalk works very well for the first few tries. Go slow so you can explore how big a circle you can make with the hips.Our attention should be on doing the hip circles instead of how the legs articulate to help us remain upright. Although I should warn you about the possibility of falling (Sorry Paul).

Once we can do this consistently, projecting the hips into the new turn is simply a matter of moving the hips across the circle towards the apex of the next turn. Like Paul pointed out the RRX turns simply happen without any real focus on making the skis turn. It's a function of realigning our base of support from the top end instead of the bottom end. It isn't a stand alone turning technique but it will show you how the hip moving into the new turn facilitates a very smooth, simultaneous edge release (turn finish), and re-engagement (transition and initiation of the next turn). It also helps get the hips aligned for the upcoming control phase where we will add a lot more active leg movements to shape the turn. Not to mention it helps you avoid dropping the hip down and inside through the finishing phase of the turn. Although if you choose to do so it also teaches you how to get the hips back up over the skis without using the old school edge check transition.

l originally just used it to see how it affects what the skis will do. A stupid human trick, if you will.

post #20 of 20
Thread Starter 

Don't worry too much about the falling, I took plenty worse falls down some of the trails on Mary Jane and up in the Parsenn Bowl.     Between rugby and skiing I'm pretty good at picking myself up.

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