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A revival of the steered turn. - Page 7

post #181 of 197

TDK6,

 

I think you've nailed it. 

 

How is it possible to communicate on such a topic when as a group, we even failed to define the term APEX?

 

Good luck guys. I am giving up.

 

post #182 of 197


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick View Post

 


 


 

Correct, Ghost,,, I do NOT define that as steering.  Riding the sidecut, regardless of the edge angle at which you're doing it, is CARVING in my book. 

 

www.YourSkiCoach.com 


 

Rick, what do you call it when you are not carving but not actively "steering" the ski with any torque (in the plane of the ski)?  What role does that play in your teaching?

post #183 of 197
Thread Starter 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Si View Post

 


 


 

Rick, what do you call it when you are not carving but not actively "steering" the ski with any torque (in the plane of the ski)?  What role does that play in your teaching?


 

A few things, Si.  One would be straightlining, another would be sideslipping.  But what I think you're trying to get at here is the skis desire when put on edge to pull the skier into and through the turn all on it's own, regardless if clean carve engaged or not. 

 

This is an excellent topic to bring up.  When steering we do have our skis on edge, and the skis are aiding in the process of turning.  The object in refined steering is to rely on the mechanics of the ski as much as possible, and on manual muscular supplementation as little possible.  That's where efficiency enters the picture in steering. 

 

For large radius turns, very little muscular assistance is needed.  As the radius drops, more muscle comes into play.  But in any radius turn some amount of muscular management is required to maintain the exact skid angle (the relationship between the direction the skis are pointing and the direction the skier is traveling) and the precise turn shape desired.  In some turns it can seem almost unnoticable, but it's there.  In fact, the less the skier is feeling they have to do, the more skilled they are at doing it. 

 

In quality narrow track steering, observers may not be able to distinquish the turn from carving.  In all quality steering, narrow track or wide track, long radius or short, most observers won't even be able to see the muscular input happening. 

 

Oh, and most people envision muscular assistance in steering being used to shorten turns, but it can be for lengthening them too.  I'm talking about steering a turn larger than the sidecut limits of the ski.  Example; the biggest radius you can carve a 13 meter ski is 13 meters.  You can steer a turn at a radius up to infinity by skillfully steering away from the turning desire of the ski.  Just another of the attributes steering carries that carving can't match.

 

www.YourSkiCoach.com  

post #184 of 197

Si,

Even though you didn't ask me, I would call that using edging, tipping, pressure, and fore-aft balancing skills to steer the ski.

 

If you preferentially weight the tip more than the tail with the ski tipped and not locked on edge, the steering angle will increase; weight the tail more and steering angle will decrease will decrease.  Tip more and it will magnify the effect. The turn force varies with steering angle and tipping angle.  Upper-level steering imho.

 

You can also push the heel (perpendicular to the plane of the ski), and the ski will slide around in the plane of the snow. (torque about an axis going through the center of both skis under you boots from left to right).  Consider the extreme case only to understand the directions.  Imagine for a moment tipping the skis to 90 degrees on a horizontal bit of piste.  Rotating the skis in the plane of the snow requires no torque in the plane of the ski, just an unbalanced force perpendicular to the plane of the snow).

 

However, you cannot divorce it from rotary skills all-together.  If your ski is tipped, and you apply more downward force at one end than the other there has to be more vertical force at that end.  In the plane of the ski, there will be a larger component of that force; you have to use some rotary just to maintain a balance while supplying more force in the non-rotary direction.  Your total weight must be supported vertically.  With more force at one end than the other, there will be some torque about an axis perpendicular to the plane of the ski.

post #185 of 197

A variation of that idea is the initiation phase of a patience turn. The pull of gravity draws the tips of the skis into the turn without any torque being applied.  For those who rush through the initiation phase by twisting too much this allows them to experience the skis turning into the fall line without adding the big rotary move that causes the ski tails to wash out later in the turn.

The idea of levering like Ghost described is another way to turn the ski without a lot of added rotary. Although I would say controlling how much the tail skids might include actively not allowing the skis to pivot as well as adjusting the amount of levering.


Edited by justanotherskipro - 4/2/2009 at 02:49 pm


Edited by justanotherskipro - 4/2/2009 at 02:50 pm
post #186 of 197
Thread Starter 

JASP, YES!  

 

This is part of my teaching too,,, I call them Falline Finders.  They come early in the learning to steer well process.  Requires proper fore/aft balance to work well, so fore/aft comes first.  After this, more active management of top of the turn turn shape is introduced.

 

www.YourSkiCoach.com

 

 

post #187 of 197

Rick, we call the fore / aft levering in a sideslip "falling leafs" but I am assuming it's pretty much what you're describing. I hadn't thought about connecting the two beyond getting someone to stay relatively neutral and allowing the patience turns to develop. A very slight aft stance (balancing right under the tibia and ankle) actually facilitates the tips diving into the fall line as the skis release. It also prevents the tails moving uphill.

As progressions go it would work. Although I imagine we would need to add a J turn activity for a finishing phase before we could call it a complete progression.  

 

post #188 of 197
Thread Starter 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by justanotherskipro View Post

 

Rick, we call the fore / aft levering in a sideslip "falling leafs" but I am assuming it's pretty much what you're describing. I hadn't thought about connecting the two beyond getting someone to stay relatively neutral and allowing the patience turns to develop. A very slight aft stance (balancing right under the tibia and ankle) actually facilitates the tips diving into the fall line as the skis release. It also prevents the tails moving uphill.

As progressions go it would work. Although I imagine we would need to add a J turn activity for a finishing phase before we could call it a complete progression.  

 


 

Not quite the same as falling leafs, though it does play off the skills learned in those.  Falline Finders is just a simple drill for learning a clean, passive, pivot free beginning of the turn.  As far as the fnish phase, I do that first, and work backwards.  It's easier to learn the bottom of the turn first,,, introduce a clean entry there, then take it up the turn. 

 

JASP, just curious:  in your falling leafs which way do you "fore/aft lever" to drop the tips,,, and the tails?  

 

www.YourSkiCoach.com

post #189 of 197

Since the skis are slightly on edge whatever way you lever will cause a slight bit more edge purchase. The other end doesn't have as much pressure so it skids easier.

post #190 of 197

Ok, I've tried to read all of this thread and I think what I'm about to ask is not answered.  One of the things I've noticed is that in skiing around with my kids on gentle terrain and no poles is that steering a flat ski using femoral rotation *without inducing any subtle undesired upper body rotation* (in my case hips) is hard!  This is particularly true when following the little rascals through the trees.  For more abrupt turns, I find I need to unweight and I'm still throwing in some hip.  It is subtle, but it's there. 

 

Somewhere (and most of you have seen this) there is a picture of Vail Sno Pro doing wide-stance pivot slips and he *appears* to be accomplishing the move with pure leg steering without any undesired upper body effects.  Is this smoke and mirrors (i.e. is he just very good at hiding side-effects) or is it real?  If so, how is he doing it?  A couple of thoughts come to mind.  First, could it be that a significant amount of functional tension is required to hold things together properly?  This is something I've only been working on recently while doing slow rail-road track carves & trying to keep my stance from widening.  The other possibility that occurs to me is along the lines of Bob's "Slip fast, pivot slow" adage.  Is good leg steering a pure finesse move where you are just walking a fine line between guiding your skis and pulling your body out of position?  If that is the case, is it correct to suggest that there are limitations to steering where in some cases you have to take the side-effects because you need to redirect your skis aggressively?  Thanks for your thoughts.

post #191 of 197
Thread Starter 

The majority of skiers DO rotate to steer their turns.  It's a habit acquired early in their skiing, when fear of falline was at it's strongest.  A pivot is the usual result,,, their desired result.  That habit of rotation (or counter rotation) and pivoting is a primary habit that gets eliminated when good leg steering skills are learned.  It really doesn't take long at all to chase those critters out of a recreational skiers skiing. 

 

Leg steering is not done on a flat ski.  Some edge is used.  The sharper the desired turn, the more edge angle, but not past the point of diminishing return where edge lock restricts the ability to steer.  Good leg steering involves using the skis sidecut to assist in the direction change, and only supplimenting what's needed to maintain the desired skid angle while producing the desired turn shape. 

 

Rotation of femurs in hip sockets, the likes of which is shown by VSP in his ever continuing pivot skip clip is not necessarily a component of good leg steering.  That type of rotation of femur in hip can create more counter than needed, and during the transition can actually make pivot elimination a more difficult task.  Quality leg steering does not need that much femur in hip rotation.  Often to help people eliminate their pivots I need to get them away from the "face the falline" advice they've been given in the past.  We can put that stuff back in the picture later, once they get their initiations cleaned up,,, and in the context of when it's needed. 

 

Pivot slips are a decent drill, when used at the proper time and in the proper context.  But it too much resembles the linked down the falline pivoted speed checks so many recreational skiers use as their poor substitution for turning.  Getting rid of pivots are best accomplished by requiring a turn type that doesn't include one. 

 

 

www.YourSkiCoach.com

 

post #192 of 197

Is steering skis with with the legs, "without inducing any subtle undesired upper body rotation" "smoke and mirrors"? Great question, Geoffda! And this question, along with Rick's true observation that the "majority of skiers DO rotate to steer" (meaning, they involve their upper bodies to huck their skis around), describes the main reason why good instructors place so much importance on teaching accurate "rotary."

 

"Bad rotary" is intuitive. Rick describes it as a bad habit usually acquired early in skiing, but I suggest that we acquire it even before that! Twisting and torquing things around with the upper body is highly intuitive and quite powerful. It's the instinctive thing to do, as Rick suggests, when we fear letting the skis run and glide, and want them twisted across their direction of travel for a sense of "grip."

 

The point of teaching rotary skill is to develop the far less intuitive, much more subtle, refined movements of the legs in the hip sockets that allow us to steer and guide the skis precisely and continuously (as well as to pivot them quickly when necessary). These movements are not terribly difficult, but they are movements almost entirely unique to skiing and a very few other sports (skating, in particular). Where else does it really matter exactly which direction our feet point? In skiing, our lives depend on it!

 

The first step is to get over that innate fear of gliding. Skiers must not only accept the slipperiness of our skis--we must learn to love it! Then, and only then, will steering, carving, and guiding, as opposed to pivoting and skidding, take precedence. The second step is to develop the proper movements. although in most cases, these movements actually do become much more intuitive the moment skiers become "offensive" (loving gliding) as opposed to "defensive" (fearing it).

 

And no--it is not "smoke and mirrors"! The mechanism of "pure" leg rotation without involving the upper body is mechanically sound, although often poorly understood. (And that is not to say that good skiers do not also employ the upper body, situationally, in addition). To understand the mechanics, we must start with an understanding of the basic laws of physics--particularly Newton's Third Law of Motion, the principle of "equal and opposite reactions." Yes, every action must have an equal and opposite reaction, and this principle has often been quoted as evidence that the upper body must be involved. I've heard many people state that Newton's Law requires that "if the lower body turns one way, the upper body must rotate the other way, according to Newton's Law...."

 

But that betrays a fundamental misunderstanding. Yes, there must be an equal and opposite reaction. But no--the upper body is not the only way to accomplish it. In "independent leg rotation," each leg provides the resistance against which the other leg rotates. And that "anchor" leg is itself supported by resistance from the earth itself. It is the principle at play when you stand with one foot on each of two barstools and rotate them with your legs, independently--as I have often described. If you ever try this (find a friendly bartender!), explore the difference in the mechanism when you rotate one leg while bearing some weight on the other stool, vs. the mechanism when you rotate with both feet on the same stool, or when you lift your leg off the stool ("transfer your weight") and rotate the other stool. Play around with it. (You can also do it by standing on sheets of cardboard or paper on a carpet.) You'll feel the difference!

 

Leg rotation is a learned behavior, unique (almost) to skiing. It is not intuitive--or, at least, the intent that underlies it is not intuitive. So it is a critical skill to introduce, from the earliest moments, in a skier's development. Without it, skiers do--as you have observed--develop a "bad habit" of upper body rotation to huck their skis around.

 

Best regards,

Bob

 

Quote:

Ok, I've tried to read all of this thread and I think what I'm about to ask is not answered.  One of the things I've noticed is that in skiing around with my kids on gentle terrain and no poles is that steering a flat ski using femoral rotation *without inducing any subtle undesired upper body rotation* (in my case hips) is hard!  This is particularly true when following the little rascals through the trees.  For more abrupt turns, I find I need to unweight and I'm still throwing in some hip.  It is subtle, but it's there. 

 

Somewhere (and most of you have seen this) there is a picture of Vail Sno Pro doing wide-stance pivot slips and he *appears* to be accomplishing the move with pure leg steering without any undesired upper body effects.  Is this smoke and mirrors (i.e. is he just very good at hiding side-effects) or is it real?  If so, how is he doing it?  A couple of thoughts come to mind.  First, could it be that a significant amount of functional tension is required to hold things together properly?  This is something I've only been working on recently while doing slow rail-road track carves & trying to keep my stance from widening.  The other possibility that occurs to me is along the lines of Bob's "Slip fast, pivot slow" adage.  Is good leg steering a pure finesse move where you are just walking a fine line between guiding your skis and pulling your body out of position?  If that is the case, is it correct to suggest that there are limitations to steering where in some cases you have to take the side-effects because you need to redirect your skis aggressively?  Thanks for your thoughts.

post #193 of 197

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Barnes View Post

 

But that betrays a fundamental misunderstanding. Yes, there must be an equal and opposite reaction. But no--the upper body is not the only way to accomplish it. In "independent leg rotation," each leg provides the resistance against which the other leg rotates. And that "anchor" leg is itself supported by resistance from the earth itself. It is the principle at play when you stand with one foot on each of two barstools and rotate them with your legs, independently--as I have often described. If you ever try this (find a friendly bartender!), explore the difference in the mechanism when you rotate one leg while bearing some weight on the other stool, vs. the mechanism when you rotate with both feet on the same stool, or when you lift your leg off the stool ("transfer your weight") and rotate the other stool. Play around with it. (You can also do it by standing on sheets of cardboard or paper on a carpet.) You'll feel the difference!

 


Rick & Bob, thanks for the followup.  Clearly steering is a finesse move.  A couple of further questions. 

First, does steering imply active leg/foot rotation, or can it be passive?  Rick's response prompted the question.  The two-footed release that PMTS teaches involves releasing the ski's edges (when the skis are across the hill) and then pulling the downhill foot back until it is even with the uphill foot.  This move creates torque, that combined with the pull of gravity brings the skis smartly into the fall line.  The remainder of the turn is accomplished by tipping the inside ski and engaging the tip to finish with a brushed turn.  There is leg rotation here, but it is all passive.  This is somewhat in contrast to the Holiday/ESki video where both skiers seem to be demonstrating more of an active rotation at the bottom of the turn to influence shape.  The latter is more in line with my concept of steering, but Rick's post (as well as others equating steering as turning) seem to suggest a far larger definition that would include the PMTS two-footed release.  If I can achieve my desired turn shape solely through the use of the ski, is it still steering?  I'm not really concerned about semantics; I'm just trying to understand what the term steering means to a PSIA instructor.

 

The other question arises from Bob's post.  The bar stool analogy is great and combined with the graphic on teaching steering by shuffling figure eights in the snow presents a powerful image.  My question (based on that image) is whether quality steering movments are obtained by conducting a continous back-and-forth weight transfer between skis through the entire turn?  In order to use one leg as the base for which the other may rotate, it would seem that (since bar stools are not usually found on ski slopes ) one must weight one leg in order to rotate the other.  Since that will lead to diverging ski tips, weight must be shifted to the leg that was just rotated in order to rotate the previously weighted leg in order to bring both skis in line.  This is effectively what happens in the Thousand Steps drill (which somewhere I seem to recall Bob mentioning as an effective drill to use for learning steering).  Assuming I've got it right, then the movements required for quality, high-level steering are extremely subtle and require tremendous amounts of finesse.  The weight shifts are so quick and subtle, you can't even recognize them when you are doing them, nor can you execute them by thinking about them.  Rather, they are an ingrained skill that is developed in more gross applications (like Thousand Steps) which ultimately morph into steering ability.  Is that about right?

 

Edit: Is "weight" even the right word?  Maybe it's just the application of tension that locks one leg in place to allow the other to move.

 


Edited by geoffda - 4/13/2009 at 02:49 pm GMT


Edited by geoffda - 4/13/2009 at 02:56 pm GMT


Edited by geoffda - 4/13/2009 at 03:01 pm GMT
post #194 of 197

Geoffda--I'm on my way out the door, so I'll have to get back to you for most of your questions (which are very good, again). But I just want to point out that you can easily turn both barstools at the same time. A leg/foot does not need to be stationary to serve as the "fulcrum" (anchor) to resist the other's turning. Both can rotate simultaneously.

 

The requirements are:

 

  • two separate pivot points (two "barstools"). Stance need not be terribly wide, but the narrower the stance, the weaker the mechanism. It is impossible with the feet together, rotating about a single axis--as in standing on one barstool. (Too wide a stance causes its own problems, but does add power to the leg rotation mechanism.)
  • Some pressure ("weight") on both feet. Pressure need not be equal, or even close to equal. It takes just enough pressure on the "anchor" foot to provide enough resistance to allow turning of the other foot. If you try the barstools (or the sheets of cardboard on a carpet), you'll find that you barely need to make light contact with the "anchor" foot--but it will be obvious as soon as you don't have enough, or you lift it off the stool.

 

Again, there's no reason each foot cannot serve as the anchor for the other foot, even as the other foot both rotates and serves as the anchor for the first foot.

 

More later.... (Briefly--yes, it can be active or passive. And "pulling back [or pushing forward] a foot" is largely what you'll feel on the cardboard/barstools when you rotate the other foot--try it! On the other hand, note that the PMTS guys emphasize a strong blocking pole plant with their "two footed release," and also tend to demonstrate a "punch" of the outside arm--which is upper body rotation--and they emphasize counter-rotating the pelvis as the skis turn toward the fall line. In other words, they rely on all three basic upper body-based rotary mechanisms (why?). Note too that pulling the inside foot back is the movement that would accompany rotating the outside foot out of the turn, not into it. It is the opposite of the inside ski lead that develops in turns as the legs rotate in the hip sockets below the pelvis. )

 

Best regards,

Bob


Edited by Bob Barnes - 4/13/2009 at 03:21 pm GMT
post #195 of 197

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Barnes View Post

note that the PMTS guys emphasize a strong blocking pole plant with their "two footed release," and also tend to demonstrate a "punch" of the outside arm--which is upper body rotation--and they emphasize counter-rotating the pelvis as the skis turn toward the fall line. In other words, they rely on all three basic upper body-based rotary mechanisms (why?). Note too that pulling the inside foot back is the movement that would accompany rotating the outside foot out of the turn, not into it. It is the opposite of the inside ski lead that develops in turns as the legs rotate in the hip sockets below the pelvis. )

 

Best regards,

Bob


Edited by Bob Barnes - 4/13/2009 at 03:21 pm GMT

I'm not a PMTS guy, but I can make some (uneducated) guesses.

 

I'll start with the observation that if a pivot slip is performed accurately, a two-footed release is required, and no pole plant or other upper body involvement is necessary to initiate rotation (i.e., the two-bar-stool analogy). Indeed, while some active rotation at the feet is required, it needs far less muscular effort than most people think if edging and pressure distribution are correctly controlled. Most people put too much muscle into it (often because they're trying to use too much edge), and it doesn't work very well as a result.

 

Similarly, most people put too much effort into hauling the skis around as quickly as possible, and end up dropping their hands, leading with their shoulders and pelvis, and winding up behind their feet - especially the inside foot, which ends up ahead of their COM with too much tip lead.

 

So, could these things be an attempt to compensate for or reduce ineffective moves? I don't really know, but...

Maybe the punch just helps keep the outside hand up where it belongs. Sometimes, "touch and punch" with the new inside hand is a useful focus to prevent dropping the hand back after a pole touch (people plant it - and then let it grow roots).

Is the strong PMTS pole plant a way to get people to focus on planting it and timing it correctly? Security blanket? Dunno. HH is a very good skier, and it seems unlikely that he would encourage the use of inefficient defensive moves. I'm demonstrating my PMTS ignorance here. It certainly isn't generally necessary to get a turn started, but maybe it helps with locating the hands and upper body. I don't use blocking pole plants very often. When I do, it may be with the deliberate intent of creating an adjustment of some kind, rather than simply flowing into the turn. Maybe this suggests I don't know how to use a blocking pole plant correctly.

Would an emphasis on counter-rotating the pelvis be a way of preventing the learning skier from attempting to twist the skis by rotating the pelvis? Does it help make the rotation more "passive" and thus more acceptable? Does counter-rotating the pelvis make it more difficult to pull the inside foot back?

 

I realize that it is difficult to educate someone such as myself, since I have the brains of your average kitchen appliance. But I like to think that I'm at least willing to be educated. So, tell me, tell me!


My presence here suggests that a village somewhere is missing its idiot.

post #196 of 197

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Barnes View Post

 ... On the other hand, note that the PMTS guys emphasize a strong blocking pole plant with their "two footed release," and also tend to demonstrate a "punch" of the outside arm--which is upper body rotation....



It seems 2 fact checks are in order here.

 

1)  Possible typo:  was outside written when inside was meant?  Intermediate pmts skiers often hold the inside arm forward and high to enhance counteraction and counterbalance.  More skilled pmts skiers orient their shoulders and torso as if they were doing this, and often do hold the inside arm forward.

 

2)  PMTS teaches a light pole tap at or behind the fall line with an open wrist and pulling/rotating the outside arm back to enhance counter (opposite of "punch" .)  This includes linked two-footed-releases and short turns.  It teaches strong balancing skills to minimize the times when a gentle tap needs to be replaced with an actual plant. 

 

In single-turn-at-a-time drills of the one- and two-footed releases where the skier starts from a standstill, the pole is often planted to support the motionless skier before he releases.  This isn't required to do the drill and if your balance is good you can do them with a gentle tap.  For learners, there is a benefit to the plant because it encourages them to counteract and counterbalance properly in the standstill before they release and engage the new edges.  (For a few years now, pmts has used a new pole plant position designed to enhance CB and CA.)

 

My apologies for bringing four letter acronyms into play, but it would be awkward to respond to that post without using them.

 

Has Bob's Bizarro World doppelganger been messing with his EpicSki account?  Enquiring minds want to know

 

( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bizarro_World )

post #197 of 197

Thanks for the quick response Bob; I'll look forward to hearing more if you have time later.  Sounds like I need to go find those bar stools, but this is definitely helping.

 

On the PMTS front, I tend to agree with your assesment wrt rotary--though I wouldn't consider an "arm punch" to be necessarily part and parcel to the technique.  While the blocking pole plant can be used to good effect, it isn't necessarily required for the move--nor is it taught as such (the focus is on a stabilizing pole plant which does not have to be oblique, or as sharpedges notes, a pole tap on gentler terrain).  That said, I would think that most skiers (regardless of training) will use a blocking pole plant for short turns on the steeps because it is effective and natural (it's hard *not* to block on steep terrain).  As I think we both agree, the goal isn't to eliminate rotary, the goal is to eliminate rotary movements that involve gross muscle movements because they are ugly, imprecise, and inefficient.  Any turn that accomplishes that will have a lot going for it.

 

PMTS tries to minimize the discussion of rotary (except in the context of bad movements) to keep things conceptually simple.  It attempts to eliminate active rotary and minimize any negative effects of passive rotary in order to enable people to develop effective movements that are necessary for mastering the fundamentals of skiing.  While I believe this approach is a good one, it does have the unfortunate side-effect of causing some PMTS trained skiers to believe that all rotary movements are bad and that there is no rotary whatsoever going on in PMTS.  Both of these beliefs are limiting and ultimately counter-productive.

 

From the perspective of leg rotation, I would agree with you that the pullback is opposite of what would happen if you just rotated your legs (though it doesn't prevent my skis from turning as I intend).  This does seem to suggest that the move probably isn't steering since the leg action is, as you say, opposite of what occurs in traditional steering. 


Edited by geoffda - 4/13/2009 at 06:58 pm GMT
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