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# Making a turn

BB has a wiki entry that is titled. Bob Barnes On How To Make A Perfect Turn

www.epicski.com/wiki/bob-barnes-on-how-to-make-a-perfect-turn

The most definitive part of BB's description is this paragraph, albeit it needs to be read in context.

"The only way you can actively turn the tip of your left ski to the left, without twisting its tail to the right, is to use your left leg and only your left leg. So, just like the movements you made walking toward the goddess, you turn your left foot and leg left to go left. As the left ski turns, you can simultaneously turn the RIGHT tip left, with your right foot and leg. The legs rotate independently of each other, beneath the pelvis and the upper body. Nothing goes right. Positive movements only."

I had never thought of walking as being remotely like skiing, do instructors here on Epic use the walking analogy when explaining ski turns?

When I look at expert skiing turn shape seems to come about by laying the skis further on edge with resultant pressure. I find the concept provided by BB giving rise to a visualization of skis twisting and a tail wash out, something BB seeks to avoid as a "negative movement".

A forum pole would be handy to determine support level for the "perfect turn" description offered.

Edited by Ashski - 2/22/2009 at 06:38 am

Edited by Ashski - 2/22/2009 at 06:39 am

The difference between walking and running is that when you run you place one foot in front of the other along an imaginary line. This way your CoM will trawel straight. When you walk you dont place your feet in front of each other and that causes your CoM to be offset at every step. To compensate you keep on walking and recover your balance with every step. If you sneak real slow stopping at every step you need to shift your CoM over that foot. This movement is what is regarded as a "negative" move. IMO its a balancing move and without it sneaking or waking would be impossible. If I would use the "walking antalogy" when teaching skiing I would deffinetly use it completely opposite. I would consider it a "positive" move. Tipping the ski left to go left is correct but secondary balancing movements of the upper body to support or fuel the movements of the legs are not to be confused as "negative". IMHO offcourse.

My answere is therefore: no support

As you say, OUT OF CONTEXT.

Go walk in a circle.  If you circle left, you move your left foot left first, just as Bob describes.  The part of context you left out is the part about the body having to catch up while walking and the part about how skiers must make their body go with the left-turning left foot in order to keep things going well.

It's a concept experienced instructors introduce with every beginner lesson.

I like Bob's analogy. Positive movements. Are there any Neutral parameters?

I disagree strongly that the walk-in-a-circle concept is the basis of "the perfect turn".

It is perhaps a useful way to get beginners to rotate their skis on day one so that they can learn how to get down a green run safely.  Myself, I prefer to teach a wedge for this purpose because it emphasizes carving.  There are others that prefer to avoid wedges altogether and go directly to carving.  Everyone will have their own opinion about how to get beginners started out.  Fine.

However, I disagree strongly that a walking step to the inside is the basis of the "perfect turn".

TDK eluded to another walking analogy, which is gait mechanics, and it does not involve stepping to the inside, but does involve "swinging" that same leg forward as if you are taking a stride, but never really stand down on it until the end of the turn when it becomes the stance foot of the next stride, for the next turn.  Gait mechanics is a very complicated subject.  Search this forum for that word "gait" and you will find hours of reading material.

However, I do not think that is what BB was trying to explain in his article.  Walking in a circle induces rotary.  If you are stepping to the left, then you have to rotate your left thigh in your hip socket.  As you  move that direction, if you maintain a little functional tension in your right leg, then your entire hip will be pulled in that direction, the outside ski will rotate automatically.  This is like a rotary version of the kinetic chain concept.  A useful trick for beginners or perhaps while trying to build rotary skills for higher level skiers that never learned rotary.  NOT, IMHO, the basis of the "perfect turn".

I agree very much with BB's description.  If you do not teach independent leg rotary you will get default upper body rotary like I see in 99%+ of all skiers on the mountain.

If you teach a very dominant outside foot you are very likely to get upper body rotary in your response.

Independent leg rotary is one of the most widely mis-understood elements in modern skiing.

I no longer agree with BB description of the perfect turn. With modern skis, I think most of your turns can be achieved via aggressive tipping. For me it is no longer "turn your left foot left to go left", but rather tip left foot to go left.

I still use pivoting when I have to (bumps, turns in a very narrow corridor, etc), but tipping absolutely dominates in 90% of my turns.

In the quote, it is suggested that it is good to turn the left tip left without turning the heel of the ski the other way -- because "nothing goes right."

But, I don't want my pivot point on the tails of my skis -- I want that point directly underfoot. That is the point of rotational balance. So, the tails MUST go right when pivotting the skis.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pierre

I agree very much with BB's description.  If you do not teach independent leg rotary you will get default upper body rotary like I see in 99%+ of all skiers on the mountain.

If you teach a very dominant outside foot you are very likely to get upper body rotary in your response.

Independent leg rotary is one of the most widely mis-understood elements in modern skiing.

Jargon alert, Pierre.  Define your usage of "independant leg rotary".  Independant of what?  Independant of the upper body?  Independant of each other?  Independant of a repressive government?

disclaimer:  I did not read BB's complete article.  He has a tendency to write LONG articles and while they are interesting I just don't have time to read all of them.  I'm only commenting about the quoted passage from the OP and his questions and comments about how walking relates to "the perfect turn".

Pierre, I agree with you that rotary skills, the ability to control femurs in the hip socket, are crucial to high end skiing, including carving.  And yes, there is a generation of skiers coming out now that are only learning how to lean sideways onto the sidecuts to turn, lacking any and all rotary skill.  Good point.

However, Stepping to the inside, as in a walk, is a lot more than isolated leg rotary.  It may be useful for beginners to begin to develop certain feelings.  It may be useful to learn how to focus on turning the leg under the body.  But it can also lead to terrible, carve-destroying movements.  Stepping to the inside is NOT the foundation of "the perfect turn".

Well I didn't read Bob's article today, but I have read it in the past (several years ago at least). Personally I'm not big on the title of "perfect turn". But if I don't get hung up on that I can see value in what he is saying. So,,,,don't get hung up on things being sacred, precious, or absolute and maybe you can see value in what he has written in general principle even if you may have disagreement with some single specific within it.

From my recollection I would generally summarize Bob's article with this statement (these are my words), "our movements should be a combination of moving forward with skis and moving in the direction of the turn".

And I would say that rotary skills may easily fall within this context. As far as the beginner goes, if she is learning to step to a stop out of the falline then she has learned the skills to make a parallel turn. She only needs to reduce the step to a lightening of the ski and the twisting of the foot to a gentle deliberate steering of the unweighted "supinated foot" and ski and she will produce a nice skidded Cristy. No need to unteach anything but certainly fundamental enough to build from.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RicB

And I would say that rotary skills may easily fall within this context. As far as the beginner goes, if she is learning to step to a stop out of the falline then she has learned the skills to make a parallel turn. She only needs to reduce the step to a lightening of the ski and the twisting of the foot to a gentle deliberate steering of the unweighted "supinated foot" and ski and she will produce a nice skidded Cristy. No need to unteach anything but certainly fundamental enough to build from.

Again, RicB, you're taking a stance for rotary, in a black or white argument...and I am not saying rotary is bad.  I'm staying stepping to the inside is a bad way to teach it.  Tipping a supinated foot is not the same thing as stepping to the inside.  Stepping to the inside is not the basis of an ideal turn.  As I said before, an interesting way to discover some new feelings, some of which are rotary.  But the step also includes a weight transfer, among other things.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RicB

. As far as the beginner goes, if she is learning to step to a stop out of the falline then she has learned the skills to make a parallel turn. She only needs to reduce the step to a lightening of the ski and the twisting of the foot to a gentle deliberate steering of the unweighted "supinated foot" and ski and she will produce a nice skidded Cristy. No need to unteach anything but certainly fundamental enough to build from.

To be on the same page, the duration of unweighting is "initiation to fall-line"?

Quote:
Originally Posted by borntoski683

Again, RicB, you're taking a stance for rotary, in a black or white argument...and I am not saying rotary is bad.  I'm staying stepping to the inside is a bad way to teach it.  Tipping a supinated foot is not the same thing as stepping to the inside.  Stepping to the inside is not the basis of an ideal turn.  As I said before, an interesting way to discover some new feelings, some of which are rotary.  But the step also includes a weight transfer, among other things.

I don't see the black and white you do, you'll need to spell it out fore me.

Stepping with small steps to the inside is one way to teach rotary, just as we do in on snow boot work in all it's variations. Like in steeping in figure eights on the flats, drawing arcs in the snow ect..

A lightened foot naturally supinates, and tipping will comfortably build on this.

Yes a step does include a weight transfer, with difference being we don't step up on the right ski if we want to step to the left, we lighten the left ski and the whole body moves in the direction we want to go. there is a big difference between the two.

You ever see a beginner tipping their inside foot keep their inside ski tipped yet keep their skis in a wedge through the turn? All they need is a little inside foot steering to remove that wedge.

Do I think every beginner needs this exercise to progress? Nope. And I'm certainly not here to defend or define which way the tail of the ski should move.

Meanwhile I have seen many people demonstrate to me such a step and its not right.  Too much bathwater with this baby.  Sorry.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BigE

To be on the same page, the duration of unweighting is "initiation to fall-line"?

In a series of steps to a stop the duration is off course short lived and repeated. In a nice beginner skidded cristy, the lightened ski should remain light throughout the turn, keeping the balance focus to the outside ski. When I've gone this stepping direction with a student, the focus is to slow down the stepping while reducing the lifting until the student is lightening ths inside ski and gently steering it in the direction of the turn.

I've seen about everything out there in ski instruction used poorly. Just as I've seen just about everything used effectively in a given context. Ths happens to be one of our beginner progression stepping stones at Bridger. When I train people on this I work very hard to develop understanding and effective use.

You still actively teaching/training anymore BTS?

Oh, you're talking just about unweighting the inside ski!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick

Jargon alert, Pierre.  Define your usage of "independant leg rotary".  Independant of what?  Independant of the upper body?  Independant of each other?  Independant of a repressive government?

Well the answer here is obviously independent of repressive guberment.   Actually each leg rotates in the hip socket independent of upper body rotation/counter rotation.

Unweighting the inside ski, I have no problem with, obviously.  I don't even have a problem with using this drill as a stepping stone.  I think I said that, maybe not clearly.  I have a problem with designating this lateral inside stepping move a fundamental foundation to "the perfect turn".
Myself I see it as a quagmire.  A useful stepping stone perhaps to bring skiers to a new level at certain points or to emphasize particular skills and develop muscle memory, but if over-emphasized and in the wrong way, which is easy to do...then it can become a completely debilitating emphasis.  The conversations I have had with a number of people, including instructors, demonstrates to me that somewhere along the line, this concept was taken too far and is now holding them back.
I walk skiers in circles on their first day too.  It has its place.  I just do not view it as the foundation of the perfect turn, if such a thing exists.  Thousand steps is another similar useful drill, used for decades, again can be used to build all kinds of skill in several different areas, but again, I do not see it as the foundation of the perfect turn.  Its just a drill.
I did not ski last year due to back surgery and I am not teaching this year due to recovery.  Next year I should be back in the saddle.  I'm even thinking about going full time next season.

Here is the original question from the OP:

Quote:

I had never thought of walking as being remotely like skiing, do instructors here on Epic use the walking analogy when explaining ski turns?

Quote:
Originally Posted by borntoski683

Pierre,  Stepping to the inside, as in a walk, is a lot more than isolated leg rotary.  It may be useful for beginners to begin to develop certain feelings.  It may be useful to learn how to focus on turning the leg under the body.  But it can also lead to terrible, carve-destroying movements.  Stepping to the inside is NOT the foundation of "the perfect turn".

There are many ways to step onto the inside foot and most of them detrimental to good principals of skiing. If stepping towards the inside ski is taught in a manner consistent with building  balanced skeletal stacking then stepping into the turn can be a major shortcut to getting the motions you are looking for in good carved turns.

I would agree that teaching stepping to the inside of the turn in the hands of a ski instructor that does not know what they are doing can be a catastrophe.  Especially if the instructor does not lead the student back to and understanding that we are after movement and the exercise is not after transferring a bunch of weight to the inside ski as the way to ski.

Isn't a little silly to talk about beginners and progressions when discussing the "perfect" (I prefer ideal) turn. Would it not be fair to say that when we talk about perfect/ideal turns we are past basic understanding of movement and are not dealing with skiers who need to walk in circles to get it.

You want to make sure that the movements you teach at the earliest point in the skiers development all lead to that perfect/ideal turn.  Realistically, once you get them to the point where they can ski most of the hill, they say 'bye' and are on their own.  If you've let them with a solid set of movements and ideals, they have a hope of getting better.  If your teaching path requires they are to unlearn certain movements because the movements were temporary/stepping stones, you are teaching incorrectly.  They can leave you thinking they are on the right path, but you just loaded in a temporary movement.....5 years later, they go to another instructor, who now has 5 years of baggage to get over before the skier can improve.

What happens? The instructor does nothing and becomes a cheerleader, or the instructor breaks down the student's skiing, which once they find out they've wasted 5 years can be devastating, or the instructor tells the student that they were a victim of traditional teaching systems that have no coherent progression and they should learn this brand new way of skiing..... but they have to commit to doing it the new way only........

I find it interesting that anyone would post specific gripes about specific elements of a specific post - all with a disclaimer that they "haven't actually read" the material they're griping about.

---
Having actually read it (several times) I can point out that Bob's post (now a Wiki entry) starts off using the example of walking primarily to depict the idea of Positive & Negative movements with respect to a direction change.

As I see it the core concept being related in his text is that we typically 'move' the vast majority of body parts toward where we want to go - rather than moving a 'bunch of stuff' into the opposite direction first.

Bob describes "Positive Tipping Movements" even before "Positive Steering Movements" (though apparently that wasn't enough homage-to-Tipping for some).  Bob's progressive concept begins not with the new edges that will turn us but rather the process of releasing the old edges that still hold us in our old turn. There is no 'lightening' or 'lifting' of that old Outside-Ski, no deliberate pressure reduction - just beginning to tip that ski in the other direction.

During those few micromoments in transition when the forces present can easily overwhelm any edge-based directional control (especially when the skis are 'flat') Bob suggests the addition of "Positive Steering" to maintain our directional control. This is something highly desirable in my view.

Golly, will the ski tails move in a 'negative direction'? Sure! How much is probably dependent on how fast the skier is going as well as how sharply they Steer into the new direction.

Likewise, when a car turns I suspect the rear bumper moves slightly in the opposite direction the driver has just steered into. Of course, if that's simply not acceptable to our directionally-snobby driver then they can just ride a unicycle. Of course, there's not much a directionally-snobby Unicyclist can do about the trailing edge of that solitary wheel going the opposite direction when the front of it is 'steered' one way or the other...

Bob's story then turns to the tale of weight transfer (my favorite chapter). The Cliff Note on this is simply that our weight/pressure/stance is already on that downhill/outside-foot - so why move it anywhere else? Why move or lurch around just to tranfer our weight/pressure/stance to the uphill ski?  Heck, in a brief moment centrifugal force will put it there for us anyway (and almost immediatly if we're traveling fast and/or turning sharply).  Besides, that old Outside-Foot should already be in the perfect position to best support us - so why shuffle things around and probably mess up an already-working thing?

OK, maybe if you're racing and need an immediate change in direction.  Here, actively retracting the old Outside-Leg puts our weight onto the uphill ski which causes a major lateral imbalance and causes the skier to topple downhill toward the new-turn's inside rather quickly thus achieveing higher edge-angles more quickly.  That's a good reason.  Emergency turns and lifting a ski to avoid a rock are other good reasons.  But there's absolutly no generic reason to move our weight Right in order to go Left (None!) and several good reasons not to do it.

OH... and having actually read Bob's material I can testify that nowhere in his text does Bob ever suggest 'stepping' to the inside of a new turn while skiing normally. His prolog reference to walking was to highlight directionally-positive movement patterns (in general) and not to highlight anything so specific as lightening or lifting the new Inside-Ski.

The fundamental pattern he described is "only moving things Left to go Left that need to be moved Left." In skiing, there's no reason to pick anything up-ish to move it left (as there is in walking).

.ma

Michael,

Take it easy.  This is the original question from the OP:

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ashski

I had never thought of walking as being remotely like skiing, do instructors here on Epic use the walking analogy when explaining ski turns?

Note the question is not "what do you think of BB's article?".  The question is "what do you think about the walking analogy when explaining ski turns?"  He asked us if we use the walking analogy for explaining ski turns.

BigE: You want to make sure that the movements you teach at the earliest point in the skiers development all lead to that perfect/ideal turn.

But we cannot even agree what constitutes an ideal turn, so how can we agree on the progresion that leads to such turns.

michaelA: During those few micromoments in transition when the forces present can easily overwhelm any edge-based directional control (especially when the skis are 'flat') Bob suggests the addition of "Positive Steering" to maintain our directional control. This is something highly desirable in my view.

I have nothing against a pivot entry (when required), but one would think that it does not lead to an ideal turn - if there is such a thing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by borntoski683

Note the question is not "what do you think of BB's article?".  The question is "what do you think about the walking analogy when explaining ski turns?"  He asked us if we use the walking analogy for explaining ski turns.

I think the walking antalogy is bad. I teach my students to turn with skis and speed and body movements. When we walk we move our legs all the time, when we ski we do not. Its actually the worst thing a beginner can do. Keep your skis on the snow and balance. Forget all rotation and twisting and pivotting and consentrate all your effort on pressure controll and balancing. Thats the secret to developping proper skiing skills and working towards a desent perfect turn. Dissclaimer, Im not PSIA.

Note that steering the skis, the way MichaelA, BB and I use it does not necessarily mean pivot.  Steering to me simply means using each leg independently to keep the skis parallel  and guiding them parallel to one another without upper body rotation as a means of effecting a turn. Pivot is a specialized case of steering where the skis are relatively flat and the skis are twisted into skid.

Skis can easily be steered into and out of counter with the upper body on a clean carving edge. If we do not uses steering we cannot sense when our skis are actually parallel. Many skiers diverge and converge the skis without ever sensing that their skis are not parallel because they are using upper body movement instead of steering.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pierre

Note that steering the skis, the way MichaelA, BB and I use it does not necessarily mean pivot.  Steering to me simply means using each leg independently to keep the skis parallel  and guiding them parallel to one another without upper body rotation as a means of effecting a turn. Pivot is a specialized case of steering where the skis are relatively flat and the skis are twisted into skid.

Skis can easily be steered into and out of counter with the upper body on a clean carving edge. If we do not uses steering we cannot sense when our skis are actually parallel. Many skiers diverge and converge the skis without ever sensing that their skis are not parallel because they are using upper body movement instead of steering.

whats wrong with diverging and converging though?

It's the upper body driven convergence/divergence that is the issue, not the divergence or convergence itself.

TomB,

Braking/bracing movements should be restricted to specific tasks.  They are not the foundations of good skiing.  I think all can agree on that point. Keeping the body moving downhill and with the skis is an approach that I hope most instructors do agree is part of good skiing.   So, trying to teach good skiing from day one should be more successful in the long run than skiing through temporary states that we know are not so good. Since there is no visual model of a perfect turn in BB's world we can only talk of whether or not the turn satisfied the skiers intent.

Whether you think that criteria is sufficient to learn good skiing is debatable.

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